The ongoing smart solution-based energy revolution has coincided with an era of struggle for Europe’s energy independence. These past few months have shown how swiftly we should take energy transformation-related action in the spirit of solidarity. While innovative technologies are our key to the energy sector’s future, a fair approach to specific conditions typical for individual countries is just as important. "Energy security is of top importance to Poland. We intend to build it according to an equal development opportunity model” - says Minister of State Assets and Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin, responsible for overseeing Poland’s strategic energy companies.
According to ENEA Group experts, energy revolution should be based on smart and innovative solutions accounting for the ongoing digital revolution and Artificial Intelligence capacities. It should further respond to the dynamic and changing circumstances of the socio-economic environment.
“Contemporary challenges are an impulse to engage in expansive activity and fundamental changes in our approach to energy security, a result of the current aspiring policy, courageous introduction of innovative solutions, and systematic prosumer segment development” - says Paweł Majewski, CEO of ENEA S.A.
Smart Energy from Home Storage Facilities
Energy storage remains the key challenge of energy transformation today. This is why ENEA Operator developed prototype energy storage facilities in five Polish cities, each in a different technology. The exercise will allows each solution to be analysed, and each functionality appraised. Such innovative solutions have become a necessity arising from the dynamic growth in RES numbers. RES are and will be connected to networks. The prosumer market is expected to open soon, which is why effective energy use has to be boosted by the correct technological choices. Most recently, ENEA has begun collaborating with Jenox Akumulatory, a manufacturer of nearly one million automotive batteries per annum, for the purpose of engaging in research and development of energy storage projects, including solutions addressed to prosumers. The idea is to design and deliver a home energy storage facility. Electricity banks installed in the homes of consumers connected to low-voltage power grids are a natural development in an era of dynamic prosumer micro-installation growth.
“Energy storage allows for improved grid operation flexibility, renewable energy surplus collection, and support system balancing. Moreover, introducing innovations resulting in ENEA Operator implementing an improved energy storage method in low-voltage grids is a key endeavour in terms of the quality of electricity” - says Wojciech Drożdż, Ph.D. Hab., professor at the University of Szczecin and Vice-President of ENEA Operator for innovation and logistics.
Home energy storage facilities will foster continued dynamic development of distributed energy units and optimum use of photovoltaic micro-installations. They will allow prosumers to maximise energy use for their own needs, onsite, at home.
Developing industrial- and home-scale energy storage facilities is a challenge for Poland and the rest of the world, as proven by the one-hour 100 MW energy storage facility opened in the United Kingdom, the largest installation of its kind in Europe. Great Britain is now developing a battery unit with nearly double the aforesaid capacity. Essex will be the site of a 99 MW/198 MWh energy storage facility.
Smart Energy from Hydrogen
Polish energy sector transformation - in which ENEA Group is an active participant - will require energy efficiency improvements, which cannot as yet replace fossil fuels. Having joined forces with the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin and University of Szczecin, ENEA Group is working on the H2eBuffer project designed to produce an energy storage and electric grid stabilising system using hydrogen produced by the RES installation. The heart of the project under development by scientists and ENEA Operator energy engineers will comprise an energy storage facility based on green hydrogen - ecological fuel generated in the process of water electrolysis with the use of electricity from RES, i.e. photovoltaic installations, wind farms, or hydropower plants. The project’s complementary goal is to use any hydrogen surplus to power e.g. electric vehicles owned by a distribution system operator.
Global analyses suggest that green hydrogen storage is the only solution matching long-term sustainable development requirements. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel, energy carrier, or energy storage facility. When serving as an energy carrier, hydrogen will support electricity re-generation. Fuel cells will be used.
Smart Energy from Artificial Intelligence
ENEA Operator of ENEA Group has also developed an innovative measurement data management system. Bespoke algorithms will allow comprehensive use of the abundant measurement database and optimisation of distribution network operations. Algorithms optimising energy grid operations have been built on three pillars: network operation metrics, ENEA Operator standards, and the expert knowledge of company staff backed up by research teams recruited at Polish institutions of higher learning. Today, ENEA Operator is using five advanced algorithms sourcing data in energy balance stations.
Each of the five algorithms implemented by ENEA Operator has been made part of the central measurement data acquisition system - the origAMI app. While collecting such immense data volumes is a major challenge, data management methods and efficiency are even more significant. The origAMI app is used i.a. to collect useful measurement data and employ them in algorithms designed to monitor, inspect, and continuously enhance voltage parameters of energy supplied to ENEA Operator consumers. If properly used, that data will let the company achieve its major paramount goal: uninterrupted electricity supplies for all customers from ENEA Operator’s market outreach area in north-western Poland.
Smart CO2 Capture
ENEA Group is planning to work with the Norwegian company CAPTICO2 to test CO2 capture and storage options in Poland. The technological pilot project is will be carried out at Łęczyńska Energetyka, a daughter company of Lubelski Węgiel “Bogdanka” cCoal mMine (ENEA Group). The Norwegian company owns a sequestration technology that promises successful usage in district heating and energy installations. The aforesaid collaboration endeavour may contribute to reducing CO2 air emissions while reflecting overall environmental protection policy requirements.
Time for Strategic Systemic Changes
Energy transformation will be neither complete nor effective without strategic systemic changes. According to a concept drafted by the Ministry of State Assets, establishing a National Energy Security Agency is indispensable to opening a genuine energy transformation doorway for all companies involved. Such systemic change would offer level playing field-based development and investment opportunities to our sector, which carries the responsibility for Poland’s energy security. It is high time we chose the smart energy revolution path and began smartly implementing ambitious strategic goals, the only ones up to the task of meeting modern challenges.
Energy Independence Is a Policy of High Aspirations and Genuine Security
Paweł Majewski CEO of ENEA S.A.
Times of energy revolution are also the right moment to identify a new security paradigm for the state and its citizens. We intend to build security on foundations of complete energy independence on the state, regional, local, and individual levels. The energy sovereignty concept is based on a policy of high aspirations, independence from contemporarily undesirable suppliers and sources, social awareness of the energy sector’s strategic importance, and individual accountability for transformation. As runner-up to the leader of electricity generation in Poland, ENEA Group aspires to deliver new projects based on renewable energy sources and stimulate development directions for the entire power sector. We are witnessing a giant development impulse coupled with the potential to build energy security and sovereignty, with citizens involved directly as producers and administrators of their own smart electricity.
Consequently, it is now worthwhile to adopt the perspective of an individual consumer and prosumer. The energy transformation strategy has to be based on prosumer commitment to electricity generation and individual awareness and accountability, including full comprehension of international and global contexts. Prosumers are also in need of tools we have to provide them with, which is why ENEA Group has decided to expand its latest strategy to include new RES capacity development coupled with energy storage facilities. This is the last and final moment to prevent operational problems on the grid. The necessity to invest millions in grid stability has become a priority as an outcome of prosumers connecting photovoltaic micro-installations in gargantuan volumes. We are obliged to manage this public energy to generate energy well!
Energy storage facility development is thus an important component of energy transformation and support in effective RES use, which is due to the fact that the most popular distributed energy generation technologies based on solar radiation and wind are unstable in terms of production volumes, largely determined by weather conditions. Energy storage enables improved grid operation flexibility and renewable energy surplus collection, and support system balancing. That, in turn, is a key condition for building true state-of-the-art energy sovereignty - a foundation for national security in times of economic, civilisational, and geopolitical crises.