Research and development

In 2018, the Energa Group continued its research, development and innovation projects commenced in previous years. In this context, it spent more than PLN 31 m on innovation activities and almost PLN 2 m on research and development activities.

In order to build innovation and competitive advantage, in 2018 the Energa Group adopted the Strategic Research Agenda for 2019-2028. The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) is a roadmap document which specifies the development, research and innovation (R&D&I) focus for Energa Group. When developing the SRA, the company’s strategy, structure and corporate culture were taken into consideration, along with its assets. SAB, allowing to focus on the most promising and priority activities in the R&D&I area.

Like in the previous years, the Energa Group is supported in the R&D&I area in 2018 by the Science and Technology Board for Innovation. The board is composed of excellent representatives of Poland’s leading academic communities. The Board is Energa SA’s opinion-making and advisory body, appointed by the Management Board.
In 2018, Centrum Badawczo-Rozwojowe im. M. Faradaya (CBRF) held the second edition of the Energa Open Innovation competition. Two innovative energy sector projects were rewarded, developed by sci-entific staff of the Gdańsk University of Technology and a very experienced practitioner from the elec-trical industry. The first prize went to a project whose goal was to identify the phases of LV grid custom-ers. The Energa Open Innovation competition 2018 was held under the auspices of the Ministry of En-ergy and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Centrum Badawczo-Rozwojowe im. M. Faradaya was brought to life as one of the key tools for the implementation of Energa’s Innovation Strategy for 2017-2020, with a perspective beyond 2025. The main tasks of the CBRF are to initiate new projects and to acquire third party financing for R&D activities. CBRF is based in LINTE^2 – Poland’s most advanced electricity laboratory on the premises of the Gdańsk University of Technology, unparalleled in Europe.

Key innovation projects of the Energa Group

One of the Energa Group Companies has been implementing the NEDO Project since 2017. The ob-jective of the project is to gain knowledge and experience with respect to the possibility of using energy storage technologies to improve the flexibility of the National Electricity System.

The final project deliv-erable will be an energy storage facility at the Bystra Wind Farm. The energy storage facility is being built as part of the Smart Grid Demonstration Project in Poland implemented by NEDO, a Japanese governmental organisation. An Energa Group Company is responsible for the construction of the nec-essary infrastructure for the foundations of the components of the facility, integration of the facility with the National Electricity System and operation of the facility in the demonstration period. The project is scheduled for completion on 31 December 2020.

In 2018, the Upgrid Project, implemented with financial support from the European Union under the Horizon 2020 programme, was completed. As part of the project, MV and LV grids were upgraded in a selected area in order to test new LV and MV grid management functionalities. Those measures will minimise failures and reduce SAIDI/SAIFI and grid losses. The failure response process will be more efficient, and the flexibility of LV grid operation will improve.

Construction of a Local Balancing Zone to contribute to the improvement of the safety and energy effi-ciency of operation of the distribution system – the project objective was to develop and implement of a Local Balancing Zone technology in order to enable the integrated management of energy resources within a specific zone of the electricity system.
The implementation of the solution developed as part of the project will help increase the connection capacity of a RES-based distributed generation network, improve the efficiency of electricity consump-tion and improve the reliability and security of energy supply.

The objective of the SORAL project is to deliver knowledge and tools to improve the efficiency of man-agement of the MV cable network. As part of the project, methodology will be developed for the assess-ment of the risk of MV cable failures, and an IT system called SORAL will be created to support a clear assessment of failure risks for individual components of MV cable lines. The system will provide insights for preventive measures to minimise failures and it will support the modernisation of the cable network.

The Energa Living Lab project was completed in 2018. The objective of the project, carried out by En-spirion, was to demonstrate the effectiveness and promote the use of demand side management tools in the form of tests carried out in a live laboratory created with the involvement of 300 households in Gdynia.

For around two years, households from seven districts of Gdynia tested innovative solutions provided by Enspirion supporting electricity consumption control. The underlying concept was to test the tools in a real-life situation. Throughout the project period, the families checked how the energy saving tools and products worked in practice. As a result, the overall electricity use was reduced by approx. 104 MWh, and CO2 emissions were cut down by 124 tonnes in total. The project was subsidised by the European Commission and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management under the LIFE+ Instrument.

One of the Energa Group Companies has built a pilot floating photovoltaic farm. Energa Wytwarzanie SA is testing an installation with a capacity of several kW. Pilot testing is to confirm the suitability of floating photovoltaic farms in Polish climatic conditions. Tests are carried out in variable weather condi-tions. The floating photovoltaic farm is installed in Łapino, a village in the Kolbudy municipality, at a hydro power plant owned by the company. The testing which is under way provides an excellent foun-dation for the development of a research project with the objective of implementing a floating wind farm.

Energa Obrót has set up the Żerków Energy Cluster in cooperation with the Żerków municipality. This is the first initiative of this kind where Energa Obrót SA wants to share its knowledge and experience with citizens and local businesses. The initiative is aimed at improving the energy security and efficiency of the municipality and its citizens.

In the second half of 2018, Energa Obrót together with 22 economic operators, local authorities and entrepreneurs created the Turek Clean Energy Cluster. Energa Obrót SA plays the role of a technical partner, and it will cooperate with some Group Companies in the implementation of the initiative, includ-ing Energa Invest. The mission of the Turek Clean Energy Cluster is to grow the share of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix of the Turek district, protect the natural environment by reduc-ing low emissions and, finally, strive to achieve energy self-sufficiency.

In 2018, Enspirion sp. z o.o. acquired contracts for demand-side reduction of 340 MW in the summer and 360 MW in the winter. This accounts for 70% of the capacity available for contracting by Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne in the demand-side reduction auction as part of the guaranteed capacity pro-gramme.

The company was capable of declaring such high reductions owing to the acquisition of new business partners, including all Azoty Group companies. They are able to support the security of the National Electricity System owing to their own power sources – CHP plants operated by their facilities. The de-mand-side reduction service improves the energy security of the country. It allows to reduce offtake for selected customers in case of a risk of energy shortages. Enspirion’s customers include mills, melting plants, chemical plants, cement plants, foundries, food businesses, or telecommunications companies. Those customers declared their readiness to shift their production processes to different hours or to temporarily switch to their own power sources.

Energa Invest kicked off the Pylon project in 2018. Its objective is to harmonise and improve the effi-ciency of the process of designing and building of power lines. A wide array of solutions is being devel-oped as part of the project to meet the needs of the most part of Poland.

Energa Invest is preparing a catalogue of optimum support structures for 110 kV power lines. The design work is aimed at achieving full conformity to the latest industry standards. Out of a scheduled series of four strength tests in Romania, two have been completed so far. The experimental verification of the strength of designed structures validated the design assumptions and the computation algorithm used.

In its R&D&I projects, the Energa Group cooperates with a range of scientific institutions, such as: the Institute of Power Engineering in Gdańsk, the University of Warsaw, the Gdańsk University of Technol-ogy, the Warsaw University of Technology, the Institute of Fluid-Flow Machinery at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the University of Warmia and Mazury, the Gdańsk Science and Technology Park, and the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park.