energy saving

Horizon 2020 Project Demonstrates ‘RealValue’ in Small-Scale Energy Storage

Launched in 2015, ‘RealValue’, funded by Horizon 2020 has just released its findings following the conclusion of the €15.5 million ($18 million) European small-scale energy storage project.
Horizon 2020 Project Demonstrates ‘RealValue’ in Small-Scale Energy Storage

The 13-partner RealValue consortium, led by Glen Dimplex, installed smart electric thermal storage systems (SETS) in approximately 750 properties throughout the 36-month study.

Believed to be one of the largest pilot studies of the current BRIDGE Horizon 2020 Smart Grid and Energy Storage projects, RealValue completed installations in homes, commercial premises and public buildings in three countries – Ireland (550) Germany (150) and Latvia (50).

The data and customer engagement research have shown that smart electric thermal storage technology has the potential to transform how consumers use and store energy, in the form of heat, in homes and buildings

Explaining the physical and academic elements of RealValue, Rowena McCappin, Project Director at Glen Dimplex, stated, “Having the entire electricity value chain involved in RealValue was of the utmost importance and facilitated a 360-degree overview of the potential for smart electric thermal storage.

“We fitted properties with smart electric thermal storage space and water heating devices, plus smart plugs, sensors, smart meters and gateways. Using these physical demonstrations, combined with advanced ICT and innovative modelling techniques, RealValue has proven that an aggregated population of SETS can bring benefits to all market participants.”

The RealValue project’s findings included:

  • Smart control of SETS devices simultaneously reduces charging costs of the devices while improving the thermal comfort of the end user. It also has potential to manage congestion.
  • SETS devices, deployed at scale, can have a significant impacton power system operating costs.
  • Through load-shifting and reserve provision, SETS devices facilitate more efficient power system scheduling, reducing wind curtailment and power plant cycling. 
  • SETS deployment is particularly valuablein future scenarios where fuel and carbon prices are high, or very high shares of variable renewable generation are achieved.
  • The system value of SETS is generally expected to increase in the future, with rising fuel costs and penetrations of variable renewable generation. However, the adoption of other flexibility solutions will have a large impact on the potential value SETS deployment can realize.

The findings suggest there is potential for smart electric thermal storage throughout parts of Europe where there is need for more flexible demand in systems that rely increasingly on renewable generation. 

It was discovered that in Ireland and Germany the indicators of success were most promising due to high shares of wind power generation and relatively low shares of pumped/reservoir hydropower and interconnector capacity.

The RealValue project has shown that decentralized smart electric thermal storage systems can be successfully linked to the energy markets, so that renewable electricity is integrated better into the energy system.

The RealValue consortium is a unique collaboration between public, private and academic institutions. Its members are: beegy, EirGrid, The Environmental Change Institute (University of Oxford), ESB Networks, The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Glen Dimplex Heating and Ventilation Ireland, Glen Dimplex Deutschland, Intel, MVV, Riga Technical University, SSE Airtricity, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and University College Dublin.


Photo L-R: Mark O’Malley, Chief Scientist, Energy Systems Integration & Senior Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA; Henning Häder, Manager – Energy Policy, Climate and Sustainability, eurelectric; Rowena McCappin, Project Director, Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation; Neil Stewart, CEO, Glen Dimplex Heating & Ventilation; and Patrick Clerens, Secretary General, European Association for the Storage of Energy (EASE)

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