European Union backs TWENTIES Project, the largest demonstration of new technologies for the grid integration of wind power

The European Union, in its backing for the progressive integration of renewable energies, especially wind power, has presented the TWENTIES Project, an initiative whose objective is to significantly advance the development and implementation of new technologies which facilitate the widespread integration of wind power generation into the European electricity system. This project will contribute in a definite way to the EU objective for 2020 regarding energy resources: a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions; a 20% improvement in energy efficiency, and that 20% of energy consumption be covered by renewable energy.

This pioneering proposal responds to the need to drive the implementation of these integration technologies into the electricity system, even though the R&D stage in some cases is practically completed.

The Twenties project will last three years and will count on a total budget close to €60 million, of which €32 million will be financed by the European Union. In this way, it becomes the most ambitious project related to energy presented within the European Union's Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration activities.

Red Eléctrica de España, Transmission System Operator (TSO) of the Spanish electricity system, is the company appointed to coordinate this initiative, which brings together 26 companies and institutions of world reference in the electricity sector. The objective of this group will be to remove, by means of six demonstrations, the barriers which make it difficult to incorporate more wind power energy -onshore and offshore- into the electricity system, as well as to increase the support this generation can give to the system. The purpose is to demonstrate the benefits of new technologies to full scale, the majority coupled with innovative approaches to the management of the electricity system.

Objectives of a pioneering project
Spain, which occupies a privileged position in the management of renewable energies, will present an ambitious demonstration project through Iberdrola Renovables. More than 200 wind turbines with a total capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) will be safely integrated into the electricity grid using a new cutting edge method for controlling voltage and frequency at different levels of the electricity system. These works will be jointly coordinated by the control centres of Iberdrola Renovables (CORE) and Red Eléctrica de España (CECRE), the first centres of their kind anywhere in the world.

Framed on the objective to confirm the contribution of this type of intermittent generation to the electricity system, the Danish company, Dong Energy, will demonstrate how to combine manageable demand with wind power generation within a favourable regulatory framework, increasing the security and efficiency of the electricity system.

The works to achieve increased flexibility in the electrical energy transmission networks will be performed by two TSOs: the Belgian TSO, Elia, through sensors and control devices which avoid possible large scale instabilities induced by the wind farms in the region; and the Spanish TSO, Red Eléctrica de España, with the application of alternative operation parameters which improve security, and new power flow control devices which optimize the grid?s capacity to evacuate the greatest amount of wind power production.

The difficulties associated to off-shore wind farms will be addressed from a security viewpoint. The French TSO, RTE, will demonstrate a full scale the critical protection and control components required to develop a multiterminal direct current grid (HVDC), whilst the Danish,, will verify if through adequate coordination between off-shore wind farms and hydroelectric generation, located in this case in Norway, it is possible to balance the generation loses that occur during extreme meteorological phenomena.

The results of these demonstrations will be integrated into a report that will evaluate the potential impact of the progressive application of the tested solutions, identified as necessary for the transmission grid of the European electricity system in the 2020 horizon, in line with the objectives of the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan.

Entities involved in the TWENTIES project
26 Partners from 10 Member States and an associate country.