This time, the event was hosted by the German team. As you may recall, Forum participants were hosted by the Rosseti team on 17-19 May in Moscow. Gathering for the event on German soil were participants from Russia, Belarus, France and China.
The visit program was jam-packed. Above and beyond the intensive project work, participants visited the Bavarian Ministry of Economics, Energy and Technology, and stopped by the Technological Center run by the company LEW. Both the visit to the ministry and the tour of the technological center were tremendously helpful to the teams in terms of their work.
At the ministry, the young specialists were told about the challenges currently facing the Bavarian energy system and about the main thrusts of Bavarian and German energy policy, outlined as follows: ensuring stable supplies of electric power (power-supply sustainability), finding a balance between the construction of new grids and generating assets, prioritizing cables, and achieving greater efficiency in the use of existing grid infrastructure.
The participants were particularly interested in the topic of incorporating renewable-energy sources into Germany’s national power system, as well as in the impact of the active use of renewable energy and “green technologies” on the development of grid infrastructure. Members of the French and Russian teams actively engaged in a lively discussion of such aspects of German energy policy as demand-side management (DSM) and efficient energy use. Members of the Chinese team, on the other hand, expressed doubt as to the realistic potential for the active use of environmentally-friendly energy technologies beyond the confines of Europe. The young people were also interested to learn that one of the presenters, Head of the Project Office Katrin Schaber, had taken part in MMF-2014 as part of the unified team of German power companies.
At the LEW Technological Center, MMF participants were met by the Center’s Vice President Joseph Wagner and Project Department Director Ronald Dölzer. All of the presentations inspired keen interest on the part of the participants. The subject of particularly heated discussion was a pilot project involving the launch of smart grids in one of the towns near Augsburg. The essence of the project – incorporating into a single integrated system everything from electrical devices (ranging from household appliances to electric-car chargers) to a local accumulator station to renewable sources of energy. All of this has made it possible to dramatically reduce peak grid loads while generating savings. The vice president’s report on recent advancements in the field of smart, every-efficient lighting, followed by a demonstration on the center’s grounds of smart-city equipment, was also met with the participants’ great interest. The project’s uniqueness is indisputable – an integrated urban lighting system has been created that can be controlled from a regular smartphone, wherein the streetlights are actually a multifunctional urban-service center providing for energy storage, electric-car charging, WF relay, environmental analysis, parking assistance and data storage.
Participants also noted the use of vanadium rechargeable batteries, which are distinctive both in terms of their high capacity for multiple recharging cycles as well as their relative safety for human health, thanks to which they can be installed in close proximity to populated areas. The participants kept the center’s representatives busy, peppering them with questions on everything from how they had managed to attract partners and stakeholders for project implementation, how their active involvement had been secured, how they expected to bridge the gap between pilot projects and full-scale implementation, how much time that process could take, how much funding would be needed and what the financing model might look like. Not surprisingly, members of the “Technologies” team asked a lot of questions about the unique technical features of project implementation.
The first day’s packed program definitely helped the participants in their project work.
The “Technologies,” “Markets” and “Finances” teams formulated nine separate challenges – “project topics,” three of which, following a general discussion and much heated debate, were ultimately selected for further work-up: supplying power to remote regions, increasing grid connectivity between China, Russia, Belarus and Europe through the pooling of reserves, and developing charging infrastructure for electric cars. While the backers of the second topic consisted mostly of representatives from Belarus and China, the charging-infrastructure topic was primarily “promoted” by members of the European teams. The projects turned out to be of varying scales, making them even more interesting for the teams to implement.
The teams were tasked with elaborating on the projects in the intermodular period to ensure that fully-developed, exciting projects are unveiled at the final event in St. Petersburg.