Zon-en-wind-Agri

De belangrijke rol van de landbouw in de transitie naar 100% groen.

Welke rol spelen agrariërs in de levering van duurzame energie? Zelfvoorzienend zijn is één, maar kunnen zij ook als producent van duurzame energie een voorname rol gaan spelen? De mogelijkheden zijn er zeker, echter moet er wel steun komen wanneer men deze rol ziet weggelegd voor de gemiddelde landbouwer.

Naar schatting leverde de agrarische sector in 2018 al meer dan 15% aan groene energie voor de huishoudens in ons land. Nederland is zich steeds meer bewust van het feit dat onze groene energie nauw samenhangt met de duurzame kwaliteiten van de agrarische sector. Echter zijn we er nog lang niet wanneer het verduurzaming van Nederland betreft. De komende jaren zullen er nog veel meer kansen ontstaan en benut moeten worden om Nederland en met name de agrarische sector, te vergroenen.

Energieleveranciers zijn zich bewust van het aandeel dat boeren hebben in de verduurzaming van Nederland.


Opwekker, verbruiker en leverancier

Ook Energieleveranciers zijn zich bewust van het aandeel dat boeren hebben in de verduurzaming van Nederland. Men verwacht dat in de komende jaren minimaal 25% van onze duurzame energie afkomstig is van agrariërs. Met de inzet van bestaande en de komst van innovatieve mogelijkheden om zelf energie op te wekken, kan dat percentage zelfs nog veel hoger uitvallen.

Veel agrariërs gebruiken de opgewekte energie in eerste instantie voor het dagelijks verbruik in hun eigen bedrijf. De energie wordt gebruikt voor machines, de productie van gewassen, het koelen van opslagcellen en het voeren van dieren. De energie welke niet wordt gebruikt, het overschot, wordt via het net terug geleverd aan energiebedrijven. Deze energiebedrijven kunnen de terug geleverde energie op hun beurt weer verspreiden naar derden zoals particulieren en andere bedrijven. Op deze manier is de wisselwerking tussen enerzijds de agrarische sector en anderzijds de energieleveranciers weer een stapje verder.

Duurzaam delen op lokaal vlak

Om het lokale aspect uit te lichten zijn er al plannen waarbij agrarische energie-producten nabijgelegen woningen direct voorzien van duurzame energie. Nu zijn deze plannen nog kleinschalig, zodat alleen de directe omgeving kan worden voorzien. Met alle duurzame technische innovaties in het vooruitzicht zal dit gebied al snel opgeschaald worden.

Tijdens de wintermaanden hebben veel agrarische bedrijven elektriciteit nodig maar is er weinig zon. Omdat het in de winter en ook herfst meer waait dan in andere jaargetijden biedt een windmolen een prima oplossing.


Combineer Wind en Zon

Een mooi voorbeeld waarbij een agrarisch bedrijf zo goed als energieneutraal is en tevens als energie-producent kan worden beschouwt is een zogenaamde wind-zon combinatie. Veel boeren hebben naast een windturbine tegenwoordig ook zonnepanelen op één of meerdere schuren liggen.

Tijdens de wintermaanden hebben veel agrarische bedrijven elektriciteit nodig maar is er weinig zon. Omdat het in de winter en ook herfst meer waait dan in andere jaargetijden biedt een windmolen een prima oplossing. In de lente en de zomer is het net andersom, de zon schijnt vaker en feller, zodat tijdens deze periodes de zonnepanelen uitkomst bieden.

Zowel bij een overschot aan energie opgewekt door zon als wind kan er terug geleverd worden aan het net, waardoor andere partijen weer kunnen worden voorzien van duurzaam opgewekte energie. Op deze manier voorziet de boer niet alleen zichzelf maar ook derden van groene stroom.

Energy sources C3 EN

Cablepooling

Een ander voordeel van een zon-wind combinatie is het zogenaamde ‘cablepooling’. Wanneer men voor de aanleg van een zonnedak een speciale kabel dient aan te leggen is de dikte van deze kabel vaak gebaseerd op de piek-momenten van het zonnedak welke slechts een aantal keren in de lente en zomer voorkomen. Op andere momenten, vooral in de zonarme maanden, wordt deze kabel niet optimaal benut.

Wanneer de zonnepanelen vlakbij een windturbine liggen kunnen beide duurzame bronnen via één kabel worden aangesloten. De momenten dat zowel zon als wind volop aanwezig is en de kabel voor een uitdaging stellen zijn uitermate zeldzaam en de productinstallaties zijn daar goed op af te stemmen. Zo kunnen zowel kleine als grote producenten van zonne-en windenergie veel geld besparen en tevens de aangelegde kabel optimaal benutten.

Wanneer de zonnepanelen vlakbij een windturbine liggen kunnen beide duurzame bronnen via één kabel worden aangesloten.

Niet alleen de producenten maar ook de netbeheerders zullen, gezien alle investeringen welke de noodzakelijke aanpassingen in het net met zich meebrengen, erbij gebaat zijn dat de kabels zo efficient en rendabel mogelijk benut worden. Minder kosten aan netverzwaring en onderhoud voor de netbeheerder, een slimmer gebruik van de bestaande infrastructuur en een toenemende CO2 besparing; het duurzame mes snijdt aan meerdere kanten.

De techniek staat voor niets en alle innovaties die de komende jaren op zullen duiken zorgen ervoor
dat er voldoende mogelijkheden zijn voor agrarische bedrijven om nog eenvoudiger energieneutraal te worden en tevens derden te voorzien van duurzame energie.

Delen is vermenigvuldigen

Het is vooral een financiële discussie. Investeringen in verduurzaming zijn vaak groot en alles uit eigen zak betalen is vaak niet mogelijk. Daarom is medewerking vanuit de overheid met behulp van subsidies een must. Krijgen de boeren de benodigde hulp om daadwerkelijk te investeren in mogelijkheden waardoor men naast zelfvoorzienend ook in staat is groene energie te leveren aan derden? Het probleem van de overheid, de uitputting van onze huidige grondstoffen voor het opwekken van energie, zou voor een groot deel opgelost worden.

Zon-en-wind-Agri

The essential role of agriculture in the transition to 100% green.

What role do agriculturists or farmers play in the supply of sustainable energy? Being self-sufficient is one thing, but can they also play a major role as a producer of sustainable energy? The possibilities are available, but support must be provided when the average agriculturists has to become an energy supplier.

It is estimated that in 2018 the agricultural sector already supplied more than 15% of green energy for households in our country. The Netherlands is increasingly aware of the fact that our green energy is closely linked to the sustainable qualities of the agricultural sector.

However, we are not even close when it concerns reaching our sustainable targets. In the coming years, many more opportunities will arise and must be exploited to make sure, the Netherlands and especially the agricultural sector, will become more sustainable.

Energy suppliers are also aware of the share farmers have in making the Netherlands more sustainable.


Producer, consumer and supplier

Energy suppliers are also aware of the share farmers have in making the Netherlands more sustainable. It is expected that at least 25% of our sustainable energy will be produced by farmers in the coming years. With the use of existing and the arrival of innovative possibilities to generate green energy yourself, that number will undoubtedly rise

Many farmers initially use the energy generated on regular basis in their own business. The energy is used for machines, the production of crops, the cooling of storage cells and for feeding the animals. The energy that is not used, the surplus, is distributed to energy companies via the grid. These energy companies can distribute the energy from the farmers to third parties such as private households and other companies. In such a way, the interaction between the agricultural sector and the energy suppliers is a step further.

Sustainability at local level

To highlight the local aspect, there are already plans in which agricultural energy producers provide nearby households with sustainable energy. At the moment these plans are still small-scale, so that only the immediate environment can be provided. With all sustainable technical innovations in prospect, the size of this area will soon be scaled up.

During the winter months, many agricultural companies need electricity but the available sunshine is scarce. As there is more wind in winter and also in autumn than in other seasons, a wind turbine offers a great solution.


Combine Wind and Solar

A good example in which an agricultural company is practically energy neutral and can also be regarded as an energy producer is a so-called ‘Wind-Solar Combination’. Nowadays many farmers own a wind turbine and also add Solar-panels on one or more of their shed roofs.

During the winter months, many agricultural companies need electricity but the available sunshine is scarce. As there is more wind in winter and also in autumn than in other seasons, a wind turbine offers a great solution. In the spring and summer, it is the other way around. The sun is shining more often and brighter, so that the solar panels offer a perfect solution during these periods.

The surplus generated by wind or sun can be distributed to the grid. In this way, other parties can be supplied with sustainably generated energy as well. The farmer provides himself and other (third) parties with sustainable energy.

Energy sources C3 EN

Cable pooling

Another advantage of a Wind-Solar combination is so-called ‘Cable pooling’. If a special power cable is necessary for the construction of a Solar PV installation, the thickness of this cable is often based on the peak moments of the PV installation which occur only a few times during spring and summer. During months with less sun hours, this cable is not used optimally.

When the Solar PV is installed near a wind turbine, both sustainable sources can be connected via the same cable. The moments when both sun and wind are fully present are extremely rare and both product-installations can be monitored if necessary. In such a way, both small and large producers of solar and wind energy can save a lot of money and also make optimal use of the installed cable and grid connection.

When the Solar PV is installed near a wind turbine, both sustainable sources can be connected via the same cable.

Not only energy producers but also the network operators will, given all the investments that entail the necessary adjustments to the network, benefit from the cables being used as efficiently and profitably as possible. Fewer costs for network reinforcement and maintenance for the network operator, smarter use of the existing infrastructure and increasing CO2 savings; multiple benefits.

The future of technology is endless and all the innovations that will pop up in the coming years ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for agricultural businesses to become even more energy-neutral and also to provide others with sustainable energy.

Sharing is Caring

It is primarily a financial discussion about this topic. Investments in sustainability are often large and financing everything with equity is often not possible. That is why government support in the form of incentives is a must. Will farmers receive the support they need to actually invest in opportunities that enables them to supply green energy to third parties in addition to being self-sufficient? The problem of the government, the depletion of our current raw materials for generating energy, would be solved to a large extent.

wind and sun

Solar and Wind energy, the perfect match


Combining wind and solar energy, the big picture


Solar panels are very popular and are becoming cheaper by the day. Not only are they easy to place on roofs or vacant pieces of land, they are one of the least intrusive renewable technologies available on the market at the moment. When placed on top of buildings their placement and size making them almost invisible. Because of all these positive traits of solar panels. we frequently hear the question: ‘’Why should we purchase a wind turbine when we can also have solar panels?’’

Solar panels are a great source of renewable energy, they can be put on roofs and pick up electricity during daytime. But unfortunately the sun goes down every day. Even in countries where the sun is at full strength, windmills are an excellent addition. Why? The answer is surprisingly simple: for all the hours that there is insufficient sun.

 

Solar can’t provide the energy peak needed when most households do their chores within the same part of the day.

 

In countries near the equator the sun is at its fullest strength but actually only shines half the time. This will supply electricity for the daytime peak where all offices and factories run. At noon people go home from work and use a lot of home utilities to comfortably enjoy their leisure time. Solar can’t provide the energy peak needed when most households do their chores within the same part of the day. The combination of sun and wind energy can ensure everyone to enjoy their day to the fullest. In this blog I will explain how these different renewable sources should be deployed together in perfect harmony.

The energy consumption or “load”  


The daily energy consumption of households is as follows:Energy sources grid@4x

This graph represents the energy load of a small community. As you can see, the peak of energy demand is during the evening. This peak is caused by the fact that during the day, people are often at work or engaged in other outdoor activities. In the evening everyone often starts cooking food at the same time, turning on the air conditioning, home media systems, dishwasher, laundry machine and the lights.

In the image above we assume that no sustainable energy is used. The energy consumed in this case is obtained entirely from the grid. In many countries this grid is supplied by fossil fuel-fired plants, which is not only a “dirty” solution, but also an expensive one. In addition, being dependent on the central grid is also dangerous when there is a power outage due to external reasons and can’t be repaired immediately. This will have devastating consequences for public health, social security and businesses, as were seen after Maria hit Puerto Rico. The hidden losses of a power outage are enormous. Want to more about the unforeseen consequences, read this article. More and more authorities choose to privatize the power utility market and let businesses and communities be self-reliant in their energy needs.

 

In order to generate enough electricity to power houses both during the day and store it for the consumption during the night, you would need twice as many solar panels, and even more batteries to provide renewable energy all day.

 

The supply of sunlight, and the times of shortage


The biggest “shortcomings” of solar panels are now quite clear. When the sun is down, no energy is generated by the panels, and when it is cloudy, less will be generated. The image below clearly shows why this is a problem. Most of the energy is generated during the day, where it is not quite as necessary as in the evening. This means that most of the energy will have to be stored in order for it not to go to waste, and to have enough energy to power all the homes in the evening and night. But this brings with it its own problems, the main ones being storage efficiency and cost.

Energy sources 2@4x

In order to generate enough electricity to power houses both during the day and store it for the consumption during the night, you would need twice as many solar panels, and even more batteries to provide renewable energy all day. This is because quite a bit of power lost when storing electricity, and lose even more when it is later distributed. Not to mention the costs of all the batteries needed to store enough energy to power a small community throughout the night. Furthermore, this solution requires the solar panels to generate enough electricity all the time, which as mentioned is dependent on how cloudy the skies are during the day. By utilizing several different energy sources, this dependency on the weather is drastically reduced!

 

By adding wind to the energy generation a much smaller-scale storage source (for example, a battery or hydrogen) is needed.

 

Wind fills the substantial gaps


The solution is to combine renewable sources. The big plus of wind energy is that it is a more constant source of energy. This allows you to properly cover the energy gaps during the day! In areas with sufficient wind, the generation of wind energy is several times cheaper than storing solar energy in batteries. A good example are the islands in the Caribbean. The Lesser Antilles for example have lots of sun and a strong constant wind, an ideal situation for setting up an all renewable energy solution. I hear you think, and what if a hurricane comes by and blows away the wind turbines? We came up with a solution for that. We designed an in-board-hoisting-crane that can lower its own rotor and blades before the hurricane arives, no external hoisting cranes will be imported to do so. 

Below you find a graph where a combination is made of wind and solar energy. By adding wind to the energy generation a much smaller-scale storage source (for example, a battery or hydrogen) is needed. The surplus from the afternoon can be stored and re-used when necessary. This battery capacity can be much smaller and cheaper in comparison to when you were only installing solar panels. In short, by combining in sustainable energy sources, a total green solution is a lot closer!

Energy sources 1@4x

On locations with less sun you can also reduce your fossil fuel consumption dramatically by adding a turbine to your local infrastructure. My colleague Wim Joosten has previously written an interesting blog about adding a wind turbine to a network that acts on (bio) fuel-fired generators, Which can be read here. 

This article gives an interesting insight into hybrid grid solutions, where a grid gets the best out of both technologies: the reliability of diesel generators, and the effective and costless energy from wind turbines.

Want to find out what solution is best fit for your scenario?


Are you curious whether this method can help you to make your energy supply ‘green’, more stable and cheaper? Just contact us, we would be happy to help you and to analyse which combination of energy sources suits your situation best.

word-cloud-community-WES

Community Microgrids – the hard return on soft factors

A microgrid is a complex technical system. Good technical engineering is of great importance in developing a project as well as financial engineering. After all, financing methods and interpretation of the proposition (buying, renting or a PPA) determine the feasibility of funding. These are the main hard factors of executing developing a facility on land. Yet the success is also determined by soft factors. As WES we have experienced this many times, we have learned the hard way, that the soft elements are most crucial in such a process. That is why we like to share our insights into the hard return on handling the soft factors right.

Soft aspects of project development

No news but very important, to check showstoppers from stakeholders in advance. The environment and politics have a major influence on building utilities on plots of land. When an idea for a microgrid arises, coordination is crucial. This can be done by pitching ready-to-implement plans, but even better is co-creating a solution with all stakeholders which creates support by common interest.

When the environment is involved in the realization, this accelerates in the execution. The investment in communicating all participable information, enthusiasm and involvement is the best investment that can be made!

Soft aspects of the technical design

One of the challenges one meets in realising a microgrid is balancing energy supply and demand. Proper balancing eliminates the need for costly energy-storage components.

With most renewable energy sources it’s not possible to regulate the energy supply. What can be done is adjusting the electrical load. Most ‘measures’ are determined to steer the demand, a few examples are: planning showering time, washing, turning down the heat or air conditioning, closing doors and windows etcetera. In reality this never happens when imposed. Influencing habits, patterns and culture is very difficult. Whilst reforms cannot be imposed from the outside, they can be encouraged.

When people themselves come up with measures and are free to make their own choices it’s a whole other story. Especially when results are clear to users, you can rely on the advantages of social control. People will check one another and encourage each other in compliance.

 

Soft aspects of financing

A microgrid requires a long term investment and will be recouped in a number of years. The initial investment often is a threshold in budget but also in a psychological sense. Communities and the individual members do not dare to spare such large financial assets. It’s important to design economic solutions that fits the client. Paying for usage instead of possession, that is an important one. There are many investors who would love to invest in reliable energy utilities, where trustworthy users pay lease for electricity in return. This does not actually change the cost, but an important barrier, the high initial investment cost falls away. This eliminates the tense pressure of choice (what do I have to choose / do I have to choose now?), which is a very logical consequence but often crippling. In addition, the freedom to scale up the facilities is important for investors as well, as is the possibility to connect other new (renewable) energy-sources in the future.

 

The conclusion of naming and removing soft factors is important and works

At WES soft factors are a key in developing our projects. Financial and technical engineering are the backbone, but the soft factors make it a real solution. By paying a lot of attention to this, we are experiencing the acceptance of solutions. By involving all stakeholders and co-create our solution we have saved a lot of money in both the development phase and the phase of use.

 


Want to know more about how to deal with these soft factors? Request our checklist via info@windenergysoluitions.nl

BLOG 210912 – Feed In – Italy

Wind in Italy: A Window of Opportunity

A beautiful country well known for its automotive and design industry, a land with great industrial tradition, of course we are talking about Italy.

What is underexposed is Italy’s commitment to develop renewable energy projects. There have been many renewable initiatives over the last decades, whereof most of them relate to solar pv projects. Solar energy production covered for almost 10% of Italy’s total energy consumption in 2016, making Italy the country with the highest contribution from solar energy in the world. In 2016, 17.4% of all Italian electric energy consumption was covered by renewable energy. This makes Italy one of the highest scoring countries in Western Europa considering the use of renewable energy.

Wind Energy

Next to solar pv, another established form of renewable energy in Italy is wind energy. Due to a Feed In Tariff from the Italian government many projects have started in the period between 2002 and 2017. After the incentive period expired at the end of last year many of the installed wind energy projects still run successful but a number of Italian wind projects did not perform as expected. This has resulted in the painful discovery that some of the turbines did not perform well and often came to a standstill. The main reason for this to happen is that the mass of the turbine owners did not had enough knowledge about wind turbines. On the other hand, some of the projects that were installed years ago were not properly audited by that time, hence they wore out very quickly.

Obsolete projects

The current situation for most of the turbine owners is that their turbines are not performing well and therefore not generate electricity nor money. Knowing for a fact that the duration of the Feed In Tariffs is still applicable on their projects, the turbine owners have to decide what to do with their land and their turbines. However, in most cases the turbine owners cannot invest any more money in the stagnated wind projects…..

At WES we want to help the Italian turbine owners because in many situations there is still a good business case to (re)start the wind turbines and producing money again. We are willing to invest in obsolete projects to regenerate what has come to be a disappointment.

Retrofit

WES offers to enter into a partnership with the current turbine owners providing a Retrofit turbine and a stable future income for the current landowners. WES will buy-out the current owners, take over the wind turbine project and become operator of the project. Besides the buy-out of the project WES will pay a land lease fee to the landowners on who’s land the turbines are located.

To regenerate the ever so beautiful Italian wind turbines we want to get in touch with the current turbine owners. Do you own or know any obsolete wind turbines in Italy that should once again generate renewable energy? For every wind turbine project you inform us of that is suitable for replacement WES is rewarding a finder’s fee ‘reward’ of 5.000 Euro.

Future prognosis

Probably a new Feed In Tariff will brought into force by the Italian government in the near future. The government wants to stimulate wind energy projects to accelerate the share of renewable energy penetration in Italy. Together we will achieve to reach the targets that are set for bringing back the carbon emissions and provide more people with renewable energy.

Author: Maarten Deutekom, Project Developer at Wind Energy Solutions

Ijsberg icl tekst Wit

Why and How Microgrids prevent ‘the big hidden losses’

In the last few years we faced extreme weather conditions and a growing number of storms and hurricanes. This change has a big impact on ‘daily life’ and more specifically, the energy supply. The number of grid failures is growing and a big group of experts is developing solutions. One solution is using microgrids for the energy supply. They have many advantages but a very important advantage is often underexposed : Microgrids prevent big hidden losses.

Reaching the consumers energy demand with the use of a micro-grid, which utilizes a fitting combination of renewables (e.g. wind and solar energy), contributes immensely to a healthier climate, because the emission of harmful substances is drastically reduced. This however, is only the first major advantage. Through the use of microgrids, the overall stability of energy delivery can be increased, and in part because of this, the financial benefits of microgrids are substantial, much more so than expected.

During the development of a micro grid, the CAPEX and the OPEX are always taken into account. The question that is (understandably) asked, is as follows: “What are the final costs per kW/h in the new situation, and what advantages does this give compared to the current situation?” In many of these cost-benefit calculations however, many hidden costs are unaccounted for.

For an example, one only needs to look at the consequences of hurricanes. In the past, lots of energy networks completely shut down as a result of these natural disasters. Each energy network was responsible for delivering energy to many users. When even a single one of those energy networks goes down, everything that is connected to it is suddenly cut off, leaving many businesses and a large portion of the population without electricity. All the food in fridges will quickly spoil, the cost of all that food suddenly gone to waste, and that is just an example for consumers.

Businesses that rely on heavy equipment, or computers and databases? losing power is a disaster for the daily operation. This will lead to many inconveniences, waste of resources and huge losses in profit. This is most certainly annoying and expensive, but even more importantly, it is dangerous. Factories and other essential installations, such as water treatment plants, rely on electricity for a major part of their duties and processes. When the power is suddenly cut off, these essential installations suddenly stop working, which can quickly make an already dire situation even worse. That is not to even mention the rate at which things can be rebuilt, which will almost certainly decrease in the absence of electricity.

A Factory will face a big loss if there is no power. The loss of production volume, employees that can’t work but have to be paid, customers that unexpectedly do not get their goods, etc.

All of these problems can be abated or even outright avoided with micro grids. They are set up in such a way that they can immediately solve the power outage, and the renewable components can be replaced or used again almost immediately after the storm passes.

We are always moving forward, and the solutions to the problems mentioned above have already been realised. Switching from a large energy network to a microgrid is a big step, but the benefits are undeniable. The food of thousands of consumers spoiling is wasteful, especially when it can be so easily avoided. A resort unable to host guests because of a slow rebuilding process and energy supply is expensive, especially since there is such a simple solution. A hospital whose equipment cannot function without electricity is dangerous, especially because there is such a safer and straightforward solution.

Do you want to know what your hidden losses will be in case of a grid failure? We have a model that gives insights regarding the hidden costs. These insights will help you to understand the risk and cost of hidden losses and the value of a microgrid for your situation!

windmolen 1

Community Funding, the perfect way to launch local and renewable energy-projects in The Netherlands.