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Project Objectives

The main objective of the project aims to develop and demonstrate practical tools for planning and adjustment of small-scale renewable energy sources (RES) on farms and its clusters as a comprehensive decision support system for farmers. The advisory system focused on farmers needs will also facilitate installers a planning of various RES enabling their effective integration and management (by a cluster of farmers) with energy receivers to provide maximal ecological effect and socio-economic benefits. The energy systems on farms using RES, planned and created with support of these new tools, will constitute the foundations for building the smart micro-grids on rural areas, whereas the renewable energy installations such as small wind turbines, micro-biogas plants and solar collectors will be planned and adjusted not separately (as yet), but according to the criteria of their application and mutual integration in systems, co-operation with micro-grids and eventually with smart grids (RES as so called smart grid friendly) on rural areas, which will boost the economical and environmental effects.

The objectives correspond with the preferred list of the most actual problems of the EU priority policies in a field of environment and energy as well as key topics of LIFE+ Programme in the theme “Climate Change”, including:

  • Implementation and demonstration of small scale (below 100kW) renewable energy technologies,
  • Elaboration of the innovative practices in frame of smart grid management in the context of high share of distributed renewable energy production.

 

The Project proposes innovative information solutions with high replication potential (there is increasing amount of farms in Poland according to the most actual data of Agricultural Census – it amounts to 3,3 mio) and solving the key issues related to socio-economic coherence such as compensation of sociologic and economic isolation, exalting the status of rural areas, resulting the increase of farms profitability on rural areas.

As shown in the outcomes of the newst research (e.g. „RE Farmers” – Impact on Renewable Energy on the EU Farms for DG AGRI), farmers in EU and Poland express constantly high interest in RES investments. Particularly it concerns farmers, who already use one of the RES technology, but it does not comprehensively solve their energy problems. There is lack of new RES technologies and know-how for their integration – mutual between various RES as well as with grids. There is increasing importance of electricity generation technologies as the demand for electricity on farms rises much faster, than in other economic sectors. Progressive market liberalisation together with still monopolistic sector of energy generation and distribution causes that low-voltage electricity consumers connected to the rural distribution grid pay more that consumers in urban areas or industry. There is another aspect related to increasing costs of energy (which include also higher costs of rural grid maintenance and relatively higher losses of energy on transmission and distribution) – the shortage of energy capacity. According to the survey conducted by Institute for Renewable Energy, almost 70% of farmers have only 10kW capacity available from the grid, although the increase of average farm area and its progressing mechanisation. So this is the limiting factor for development and use of civilisation achievements on rural areas, which causes also locally more intensive use of fossil fuels, including coal – high-emissive energy carrier. At the same time farms have the highest (still marginally used) potential for small scale RES development, which allow them not only to cover the most part of own energy needs (electricity, heat), but also sell the energy surpluses to the grid. So far, the structure of the energy grid and energy market did not allow farmer to became both consumer and producer of energy simultaneously (so called prosumer). When talking about electricity market farmer was always only consumer of energy generated in centralised power plants (in Poland 90% are coal power plants).

The idea of the smart grids implementation (including micro-grids on rural areas) corresponds very well with the needs for reparation the status of the rural energy grid, quality and security of energy supply for farmers, limitation of energy losses and costs as well as increase of RES share, including rate of energy autonomy of farmers and rural areas. Construction of smart grids gained recently the political support also in Poland, resulting in the new proposals of legislative regulations. The Energy Regulatory Office (URE) published own opinion in case of so called Advance Monitoring Infrastructure (AMI), while since 2012 the local pilote areas in Poland could use the special programme dedicated to smart grids prepared by National Fund of Environmental Protection and Water Management (NFOSiGW), particularly in frame of installation of smart meters and RES integration. Rural areas, especially farmers may become one of the first beneficiaries of the practical implementation of smart grid technologies, unless the wider access to the innovative technologies of small scale RES (farm scale) will accompany their development.

So far, the farmers usually decided to buy and utilise only one RE source, while often selected it quite randomly. However the situation changing together with micro-grid and energy market development as well as increasing choice of RES devices on the market (small wind turbines, solar collectors, micro-biogas plants, heat pumps, photovoltaic systems). There are increasing possibilities of connection of various small scale RES to the certain points in a grid as well as raising needs in relation to complement one RES another in certain farm in self-balancing hybrid systems (including integrated electricity and heat management with its storage). Actual farmers’ investment decisions in relation to the energy supply should include evolution of energy systems as well as technology revolution in frame of RE micro-sources. Energy system of the farm should be planned and created with taking into account the new concept of grid and wider offer of RES appliances on a market. Unfortunately, while the market of green technologies increases, the research system, research results and oriented information to their receivers, users and business connected to agriculture as well as tools and instruments allowing for its practical implementation do not correspond with each other. Lack of commonly available information and tools for RES planning and energy management, which are also friendly and adjusted to the needs of farmers, disable the implementation of new technologies and expose agriculture and rural areas to the intensification of social disparity in relation to access to clean energy carriers and effective technologies.

Contact

Institute for Renewable Energy
Mokotowska Str. 4/6
00-641 Warsaw

Phone:
+48 22 825 46 52
+48 22 875 86 78

Fax:
+48 22 875 86 78

E-mail:
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