To help Flemish companies bring innovative and fully-integrated energy products and – services to the international market, Flux50 sets up and coordinates living labs in five ‘innovator zones’. These zones reflect the thematic priorities of Flux50. One such innovator zone is Microgrids.
Market opportunities – Context of the innovator zone Microgrids
Microgrids are groups of interconnected consumers, distributed renewable sources and energy storage solutions within well-defined electric perimeters. Essentially, microgrids manage their own production, storage and demand facilities and are less depending on the distribution grid.
Microgrids allow increased auto-consumption and energy independence and are thus key assets for high-tech companies, data centers and all businesses requiring a high security of supply and reliability. At the same time, state-of-the-art control technologies and interfaces make the integration of distributed energy easier than ever; so microgrids can also provide flexibility to help maintain the balance between supply and demand on the grid. Microgrids are one of the hottest opportunities in the global energy landscape and an important asset to reach the climate targets.
Existing strengths of Flanders – Microgrids
Flemish companies can capitalize on the boom in the market for microgrid technology by building on the following strengths of our region:
- A strong competence base: Flemish research institutions as well as companies have gathered the know-how and infrastructure required to carry out large-scale integration and demo projects.
- Pre-existing international links: our large, local players (Engie, ABB, Siemens,...) were already serving the markets described above before taking up an engagement in Flux50.
- The increasing strain on our existing grids: over the past decade, the growth of both PV and wind has put major pressure on the existing grid infrastructure. This increased in Flanders the willingness to adopt alternative solutions for integrating renewables into the system.
Focus of the innovator zone Microgrids
Within the innovator zone ‘Microgrids’ the focus lies on scalable hybrid microgrids for a wide range of residential and industrial settings. This is an interesting market segment because off-the-shelf solutions of the large multinational technology providers have to be fine-tuned by local SMEs to fit like a glove for smaller types of microgrids.
Flux50 aims at a step-up from the current microgrid developments in Europe, which focus either on island-settings or on limited demonstrators in controlled settings. The projects in the innovator zone ‘Microgrids’ build on recent advancements in energy market functioning, technology and regulation.