Energy on islands are often highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, leading to prices typically 100% to 400% higher than on the mainland and to high emissions of greenhouse gases.

However, these islands have abundant potential wind, marine current and solar resources while the prices of renewables and storage technologies are strongly decreasing. As a consequence, the large-scale deployment of local renewable energy sources, with the support of appropriate technologies (microgrid, flexibility, …), can bring economic benefits and contribute to decarbonize the energy system of the island, reduce greenhouse gases emissions and improve, or at least not deteriorate, air quality.

Furthermore, European islands have to comply with their countries’ laws that promote a greener energy mix to comply with the European and international agreements.

GIFT project: developing innovative technologies to overcome this challenge

A collaborative innovation project gathering 17 EU partners

As an answer to the challenge described above, GIFT (Geographical Islands FlexibiliTy) is an innovative project that aims to develop and demonstrate the appropriate technologies that will allow to decarbonize the energy mix of European islands through holistic energy management, trading and innovative storage solutions.

The project gathers 17 partners from 7 EU member states. It has an overall budget of 12 M€, including a contribution of 9,5M€ from the European Commission in the scope of Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program.

The developed technologies and solutions will allow to increase the penetration rate of renewable energy sources

Within GIFT project, multiple innovative solutions are developed, such as:

  • A virtual power system, addressing the flexibility in a standardized way, through techno-economic optimization;
  • Energy management systems for harbours, factories, homes;
  • Better prediction of supply and demand and visualization of this data through a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform;
  • An Enterprise Service Bus, allowing the integration with legacy systems and supporting their interoperability;
  • Innovative storage systems allowing synergy between electrical, heating and transportation networks (incl. virtual storage, multi-vector storage, HBr storage);
  • Long-term energy assessment of the islands to predict the potential evolution of the overall energy system (in a 20, 30 or 50-year target).

The main impact of GIFT will be to increase the penetration rate of renewable energy sources into the islands’ grid, reducing their needs for diesel generation and thus decreasing the greenhouse gases emissions directly related to it.

The innovation will be demonstrated in two EU islands

During 4 years, the partners will develop and demonstrate the solutions in two lighthouse islands:

  • Hinnøya is Norway’s largest island (2,204 km²) including 32 000 inhabitants. The main city is Harstad, which is located in the north part of Hinnøya and includes also the south part of Grytøya island. The electricity supply in Harstad is mainly from hydropower with similar price as mainland. But the energy supply for transport is from fossil fuel. Moreover, the increasing energy demand requires more imported coal-based electricity, especially in winter time.
  • Procida is a small Italian island (4km²) of the Tyrrhenian Sea (facing Naples) with about 10.500 inhabitants. It is connected by a 30kV submarine cable to the nearby Ischia Island. Electricity reaches the island from this only source and covers the needs of the entire Procida population. Procida current electricity system is handled by ENEL S.p.a, thanks to the connections with the mainland.

In addition, the project will study the replicability of the solution in Evia (Greece) and Favignana (Italy) islands.

TRIALOG provides its expertise on smart grid and e-mobility

Within the GIFT consortium, TRIALOG is leading the WP2 “Pre-study and functional requirements” and is contributing to several other work packages. The main contributions from TRIALOG are:

  • Definition of the use-cases, requirements and architecture, including KPIs, based on IEC 62559-2 and the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM).
  • Definition and maintenance of the Data Management Plan.
  • Development and validation of a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy management system (EMS).
  • Interoperability tests in laboratory.
  • Scalability and replicability analysis of the ICT system.
  • Liaison with other Horizon 2020 projects within BRIDGE Olivier Genest from Trialog is the Chair of the BRIDGE Data Management WG.

This contribution is based on the strong know-how and experience of TRIALOG in designing, building and operating interoperable and secured industrial information systems (i.e. cyber-physical systems), in particular for smart energy grids (electricity, gas).

Thanks to this project, TRIALOG carries on establishing itself within the smart energy grids ecosystem in France and Europe. TRIALOG supports the energy stakeholders to build, develop and test innovative technologies and solutions to meet tomorrow’s energy challenges.