Energy management in the 21st century

Why is energy such a hot topic?

The issues of energy provision and management have been at the center of discussions in both private and business environments for a number of years. Conflicts affecting supply, coupled with increasing concerns about our rapidly warming planet, have made us all much more conscious of how we use and procure our energy. So it seems like a great idea to switch to renewable, decentralized energy sources, right? But have you thought about how this energy supply is managed? The complex distribution system that ensures the lights come on when we flip the switch has been in place for decades, and we need to turn everything on its head to ensure that energy from renewable sources reaches our homes and businesses with the same efficiency.

Traditional power grids date back to when Thomas Edison was a young man and are designed to provide electrical energy at constant voltages, powered by fossil fuels. We've spent a long time perfecting the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in this way, but now solar, wind and other renewable energy sources are disrupting the model with their decentralized production. It's much harder to predict wind and sunlight, which means predicting and managing supply and demand is more challenging. In addition, people are not only consuming electricity in different ways, for example through the increased use of electric vehicles, but may also be putting energy back into the grid via solar panels. All of this can affect the stability of electricity grids and influence the way players in the system are financed. So how can we switch to cleaner energy while ensuring that the grid infrastructure is stable, properly maintained and financed?

What do we need for a smart grid?

Many elements are required to achieve this, including updates to policy and regulatory frameworks, education campaigns, incentives for consumers and, of course, cutting-edge technologies. All players in the energy market need to embrace innovative solutions to create the dynamic market required to address these challenges. Decentralized microgrids, where a group of connected buildings form their own local energy system, will certainly play a role. Efficient microgrids will rely heavily on the latest technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and cloud and edge computing. In addition, the liberalization of the electricity market will certainly lead to the emergence of new digital services in the energy sector. These services will mainly be based on forecasting energy consumption/production. And this is where SWARM comes into play ...

The work of the SWARM project

The members of the SWARM consortium are focusing on the technological challenges of the above-mentioned problem. The project is building a digital platform based on a "Smart Energy Management Appliance" (SEMA) that can be deployed on microgrid infrastructures. The plan is to offer new services that enable users to become active participants and thus direct beneficiaries of a liberalized energy market. The SEMA will not only provide supply and consumption forecasts, but also offer the possibility to trade energy and flexibility. The project is supported by experts in the fields of energy and digitalization.

SWARM Partner

HEPIA Haute école du paysage, d'ingénierie et d'architecture is one of the 6 schools of the HES-SO Geneva campus. With its four research institutes, HEPIA is a center of excellence in engineering and architecture. Its expertise in the field of edge cloud solutions and self-adaptive IoT applications is crucial for the SWARM project.

CLEMAP pursues the vision of a world in which people, devices, buildings and industries understand their energy flows and are committed to the sustainable use of energy. As a technology partner, the company offers solutions for system integrators, electrical installers and industrial customers in the field of smart grids and smart buildings.

Groupe E SA is a leading energy company in French-speaking Switzerland. As a distribution network operator, it supplies electrical energy to over 400,000 private individuals and numerous professional customers in its supply area. As a grid operator, Groupe E offers a business view of its sector by providing data and proposing applications for use.

Recap Power started in 2018 under the name Tvinn with the vision to create solutions that contribute to a more sustainable future. Recap Power provides aggregator services, solves capacity issues and offers smart management of batteries, electric vehicle chargers and local energy generation as a service!

The Royal Institute of Technology KTH is an international technical university, ranging from natural sciences to all areas of engineering.

The Geneva municipalities Meyrin and Chêne-Bougeries act as microgrid infrastructure providers and work closely with the project.

SWARM is a EurekaEurostars-project funded by the Swiss innovation agency Innosuisse and the European Union.

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