Pilot project using active network management

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A smart way to unleash renewable energy potential

Integrating large amounts of renewable units in the grid can pose congestion issues. These are traditionally solved by investing in new grid assets taking into account the peak production, which is often costly and time-consuming. By connecting wind turbines to the grid in a ‘smart’ manner, a pilot project in Belgium has solved congestion issues and allowed more renewable energy on the grid.

Automatic curtailment algorithms applied in the control system monitor the production of the wind turbines closely, ensuring that power does not exceed network limits. They maximise renewable energy production by enabling a faster connection with a minimal amount of energy lost. This innovative smart grid technology can increase the renewable energy capacity up to 40 % just by altering the way the grid is managed.

Up to now, the six smart wind turbines installed have provided at least 11 000 megawatt hours more electricity to the grid network than would have been possible with a classic connection. Only 0.16 % of their energy production had to be curtailed last year to prevent an overload.

This 'smart' approach illustrates how the European electricity grids can adapt and benefit from the rapid rise of renewable energy, which can unpredictably peak. The original six smart wind turbines at the Port of Antwerp will soon become eleven, and the technology is being rolled out at other transformer stations in Belgium.