- PV panels are popular, but there is also a downside to selling electricity back to the grid; the grid is not always able to handle such large quantities of electricity, and options for selling electricity are being reduced.
- Storing energy in batteries is a possible solution for efficient energy use.
- Ter Steege Bouw Vastgoed is researching the application of special Vanadium Flow batteries in a series of houses on the Indië terrain; a heritage site in Almelo.
Supplying energy back into the grid has a downside as well, unfortunately. It is still possible right now, but the options for this are being reduced in 2023, and it will not be possible anymore from 2030. There are also occasional “traffic jams” on the electricity grid, due to the large increase in PV panels. So much energy is supplied to the grid in these situations, that it cannot handle the quantities. You will especially see this on beautiful, sunny (and not too hot) weekend days. Reinforcing the grid would be a solution, but that is expensive, and it will take a lot of time to realise.
Electricity that is generated but not immediately used can be stored and used later. For this, we can use batteries. Not penlights, type AA or AAA, but large batteries which can store a lot of energy. Batteries the size of those in electric cars, for example. The possibility of using a network of electric cars to absorb the peaks in the electricity grid is being investigated. The grid may not have to be reinforced if we can charge electric cars with the surpluses of energy and use them to supply to the grid when there is a lot of demand. The technology that cars need for supplying energy to the grid, however, is not yet widely applicable. It will probably be possible in the future, though.
Another good option is using so-called home batteries. The Tesla Powerwall and the Solarwatt are examples of this. They do not always pay off, however, mainly because they are costly. The fire safety of these systems is also closely monitored by the fire brigade, among others. There are more solutions to store electricity. Currently, there are pilots with salt batteries and so-called flow batteries. These batteries have the same effect but do require a bit more space.
Energy is generated during the day when the sun shines. In a normal situation, the energy could be used for running the washing machine, for example. Is there any energy left? Then it will be supplied back to the grid. You cannot use the surplus of the day in the evening when more power is used. You might have to use the extra energy from your supplier. The electricity generated during the day can be used when needed if it is stored in a battery system. And if a battery is designed in such a way that there is enough storage capacity and sufficient power, then it can create a buffer for multiple homes at the same time.
Ter Steege Bouw Vastgoed is investigating the possibilities of using a flow battery to provide an electricity buffer for multiple homes at the same time. The Vanadium Flow Battery is extremely suitable for this.
Plans are being made to use this battery solution for a series of houses in Almelo: housing project De Weverij. Multiple parties are involved, including the grid manager and the supplier of the battery. The Vanadium Flow Batteries have only been used for utility projects, so far. De Weverij is the first housing project in which this technique will be used. Ter Steege Bouw Vastgoed wants to learn how this unique way of storing and reusing can be used more widely.
It is obvious. We need a smarter way of managing the energy system. The University of Twente is also developing an energy management system as a pilot project for De Weverij, and they will continue to monitor this when it is used. The UT is also investigating how the new systems will be used, and how residents can be informed even better.
De Weverij is part of the Indië terrain, which is a heritage site. This means that the shape of the facade is preserved, among other things, and that old materials are reused. It will, however, also be a project with the most advanced technologies for supplying and storing electricity! We combine preserving the heritage of the past and applying the techniques of the future in this way.