E.ON has successfully produced a microgrid running 100 per cent on renewable energy in rural Sweden.

Following testing in the rural town of Simris, the community’s 150 customers were able to operate off-grid last week.

The experimental phase until now has seen the community go without grid power once every five weeks, instead running on a privately owned 500 kW of wind and 442 kW of solar generation capacity, as well as the 800-kW battery installed by E.ON and a back-up renewable fuel generator.
Off-grid renewables at Simris
Simris was seen as an ideal candidate for such an autonomous energy system as rural Sweden suffers harsh winter storms that impact overhead transmission lines and lead to outages.

Simris will be operating off-grid this week, live data can be viewed here.

“If there are problems, we will have power restored within 30 seconds because we can just reconnect to the main grid,” explained Mike Hirst, electrical engineer at E.ON.

“It would only take one outage on our part before everyone turned against us. We’re very conscious that we don’t want to do anything to disrupt power,” Hirst said, in relation to gaining community confidence during testing phase process.

Simris now forms a part of the $26 million InterFlex project. Funded by Horizon 2020, it sits within the European Union’s biggest research and innovation programme to date.

The project will run until the end of 2019, and aims to provide deep insight into six innovation streams: islanding, demand response, energy storage, cross energy carrier synergies, electric vehicles, and grid automation.

Having successfully demonstrated the islanding capabilities, Simris will now integrate demand response technologies into the microgrid.

Last year, when the project was announced, Leonhard Birnbaum, a member of E.ON’s Board said, “This exciting project shows a possible development for the evolution of smart grids.”

“With the right technical equipment and intelligent solutions, at Simris we can now demonstrate a decentralized, renewable but also comfortable future of energy even today.”