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Driving the energy transition with economical, resilient, and sustainable microgrids

In the wake of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report's stark findings, microgrid technology emerges as a key enabler in the global quest for sustainable energy. INNIO Group's microgrid solutions, exemplified at the INNIO360 Energy Lab, offer a blueprint for integrating renewable energy with higher reliability and economic efficiency, showcasing the crucial role of microgrids in enhancing grid stability and accelerating the renewable adoption essential for net-zero aspirations.

  • Driving the energy transition with economical, resilient, and sustainable microgrids  - Foto Header

While renewable energy technologies are at the forefront of the global energy transition, their volatile and unpredictable nature is leading to a gradual reduction in short- and long-term grid stability. Mitigating this instability requires the integration of technologies such as microgrids, which provide highly available backup power with increased grid resilience. As INNIO Group works to fulfill its mission to help industries and communities generate and manage energy sustainably, it increasingly offers custom, advanced microgrid solutions. While the company has installed thousands of island mode-capable power plants globally over the past three decades, its definition of advanced microgrids goes much further. Microgrids are small-scale power generation and distribution systems.

Because the microgrid is one of the solutions driving the energy transition, it needs to address global megatrends that also can be seen as challenges. These include decentralization, digitalization, decarbonization and, of course, increasing electrification in general with e-mobility worldwide and heat pumps in some regions. To address these challenges, microgrids need to be sustainable, resilient, and economical.

Robert Autengruber, senior product manager for INNIO Group’s Jenbacher product line

The microgrid’s sustainability can be addressed by including one or more renewable distributed energy resources in the mix, like solar photovoltaic (PV) or wind. For resilience, a dispatchable energy source is needed when the renewables don’t provide sufficient energy. And, to integrate renewables without compromising that resilience, a microgrid controller or energy management system is key. Finally, creating an economical solution requires an advanced energy management system that works to reduce the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

INNIO360 Energy Lab

demonstrates economical,
advanced microgrid technology

Jenbacher microgrid controller

for higher power

1 step further

with myPlant Optimization
for better operational efficiency


Demonstrating the energy transition at the INNIO360 Energy Lab

At the INNIO360 Energy Lab in Jenbach, INNIO Group is building a microgrid energy system of the future. Starting in 2015, the boiler house, which originally held four gas-fired boilers that supplied the company‘s headquarters with heat, was modernized by installing a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Additions since then include heat storage, a power-to-heat module, PV, and a battery energy storage system (BESS). A small water turbine also provides energy to the microgrid. Energy production at the site has been modernized to support the energy transition. Because many INNIO Group customers face similar needs and challenges, INNIO360 has been given a dual purpose going forward: demonstrate the energy transition with a microgrid under real commercial conditions and provide a test environment for new features of INNIO Group’s Jenbacher microgrid controller and its ai-driven energy management solution on site. Next, INNIO Group will add a 2 MW electrolyzer system and hydrogen storage to the INNIO360 microgrid.


Delivering successful microgrids for varied needs

Microgrids offer complex solutions that can tackle the challenges of the energy transition. However, fully understanding each project’s specific requirements is critical for success. INNIO Group offers planning, sizing, and energy consultancy services that focus on the customers’ key value drivers. These include: renewable integration with a low LCOE; peak shaving for less grid stress and reduced electricity cost; battery storage to enable energy arbitrage for an added revenue stream and increased return on investment (ROI); optimized self-consumption by storing excess renewable energy for later use; and enhanced power reliability and resilience.

Introducing Jenbacher Microgrid Solutions

The video shows how the microgrid solution combined with a Jenbacher CHP unit optimizes economics in grid-parallel mode and also prevents power interruptions due to grid outage.

Evolving the microgrid controller for today, and tomorrow

Developed to run multiple black-start-capable units in island mode operation, the feature-rich Jenbacher master controller has been evolving to meet customer needs for more than two decades. Today, INNIO Group’s new advanced, all-in-one Jenbacher microgrid controller includes features such as load management, import-export control, mains and coupling braker control, and interfaces for ancillary services or other auxiliaries while also integrating a wide selection of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as renewables and storage devices or inverter-based technologies. No additional hardware is needed.

Optimizing operational efficiency with the myPlant digital platform

Efficiency is taken a step further with INNIO Group’s myPlant Optimization energy management solution that leverages Artificial Intelligence to tackle the complex, dynamic parameters associated with a microgrid in a way that a human operator cannot match. The myPlant Optimization solution generates an optimized operating plan for all DERs managed by the microgrid. It delivers a holistic view of the plant’s overall operational requirements and presents the information that matters most on user customizable dashboards – for improved operator decision making.

This article has been adapted from a video interview of Robert Autengruber, senior product manager for INNIO Group’s Jenbacher product line. You can watch the full interview here.

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