Energy Aware: enabling industry to provide (green) energy

Eaton and Enel X have launched a new solution in Ireland that will allow energy-intensive industries to actually help balance the grid and increase the use of renewables

Published on 26 June 2019

Energy Aware: enabling industry to provide (green) energy

Turning energy-intensive industries into energy providers was the goal when energy management company Eaton launched Energy Aware in Ireland with its global partner Enel X on May 29. This new solution allows energy-intensive industries, such as steel, aluminium, paper and chemical manufacturers, and also the likes of hospitals, data centres and airports, to help guarantee grid stability and increase the use of renewables, whilst simultaneously cutting the cost of the energy they use.

A new solution

Energy Aware uses UPSaaR (Uninterruptible Power Supply as a Reserve) technology that Eaton has been developing since 2016: UPSaaR has already been trialled in Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom.  It is essentially an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) similar to the ones used in plants where losing power is simply not an option. However, in difference to a traditional UPS, the Eaton solution is bi-directional, meaning that part of the energy stored in the UPS batteries can be transferred to the grid to offset voltage or frequency fluctuations.  During the presentation in Dublin, Ciarán Forde, Eaton’s Data Center and IT EMEA segment manager, explained that this means “the grid operator is able to very safely use increasingly large amounts of renewable energy” to deal with unexpected situations arising from the intermittent nature of those very sources. Industrial customers will be remunerated in exchange for their willingness to share their stored energy.

Trials and launch in Ireland

The project launched in Ireland is the first commercial application, having first been trialled at Eaton’s headquarters in Dublin in collaboration with Enel X. The trials revealed that the solution successfully manages businesses’ critical applications and loads, reduces energy consumption, and improves grid stabilisation. Energy Aware also provides a reserve energy source of vital importance for dealing with the instability resulting from the growing use of renewables, whilst still retaining the UPS’ primary job of securing electrical loads.

The solution developed by Eaton and Enel X is also participating in DS3 Delivering a Secure, Sustainable Electricity System, the programme promoted by Irish grid operator EirGrid to support the integration of renewables through management of grid frequency, and is one of the most ambitious of its kind in Europe. This was another reason why Ireland was chosen for the commercial launch in addition to the fact that the nation is home to many power-hungry facilities (including some of the biggest data centres in the world). The technology will also allow energy-intensive industries to play an important role in the gradual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.  

A sustainable future

“As individuals and as an industry, we are all aware of our obligation to rethink our role as power consumers,” stressed Forde. “Industry continues to strive to make efficiency gains and to decarbonise the energy we use. This innovation is a game changer in that it challenges traditional thinking: it transforms a large electrical infrastructure into a network that can contribute to the grid and not only consume power.” Eaton turned to Enel X to take it to the market and the latter worked with EirGrid to establish the modalities through which organisations interested in the service could take part in DS3 and be remunerated for their involvement.

“The potential of the energy sector’s transformation is dependent on an ecosystem of proactive energy consumers who see opportunity in using their energy differently – more intelligently – than they do right now,” confirmed Peter Connolly, Head of Sales at Enel X in Ireland. “We are delighted to partner with Eaton to enable businesses and other organisations to leverage their operational flexibility in a way that bolsters business competitiveness whilst also allowing them to become good citizens of the grid.” And to take yet another step together towards energy decentralisation and in the fight against climate change, two cornerstones of Enel X’s strategy for an increasingly sustainable future.

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