Bornholm gets ready for more world-class R&D

October 11, 2016
-       We are testing the future on new and old units in some of Denmark's most charming houses in the lower energy classes - so new and old hardware in houses with no climate envelope, says the CEO.

The EcoGridEU-project has engaged more than 2,000 Bornholmers  and has created international awareness. The heating season 2016/2017 kickstarts EcoGrid 2.0 and the new CEO of Bornholms Energi & Forsyning, Rasmus Sielemann Christensen believe that a lot is at stake for the island community of Bornholm - and for the world.

New windmills rise proudly a little north of Rønne and down at the harbour the thermal power plant is repurposing its block 6 from coal to biomass. Windmills and wood pellets are two key stones in Bornholm's Bright Green Island-ambition to become CO2-neutral in 2025.

-       I think the goal is realistic but we have to be diligent. All good forces need to unite, says CEO Rasmus Sielemann Christensen, who joined as leader of Bornholm Energi & Forsyning on the 1st of July.

The multiutility company, which is a result of the fusion between the energy utility Østkraft and the district heating company Bornholms Forsyning, has a key role in the green conversion of the Baltic island.

To accomplish the goal of becoming a 100 percent green island, there is need for more windmills, several thousand oil heaters need to change to district heating or heat pumps, and new transport solutions with alternatives to gas and diesel need to be implemented.

Bornholms Energi & Forsyning participates on many fronts – including as a practical coordinator of the research and development project EcoGrid 2.0.

-       The development within energy and IT works on a global scale and moves at a speed that is unprecedented. If we as a energy company do not join research and development projects it will have consequences for our supply safety. We have to be up to date to time our investments in the energy grid in the most beneficial way. This is why we like to partner up on international projects, says Rasmus Christensen, who comes from the SE-concern and has worked in China.

Live test persons

The preceding EcoGrid-EU project has put Bornholm on the global map and the previous 3-4 years have brought a stream of domestic and international visitors who want to hear about the experiences with making a smart grid with over 2,000 Bornholmers who are very lively test subjects.

-       Talent commits. Bornholm is a unique testing environment where we find all the characters of a larger society on a manageable scale. We have a smaller, but well-functioning community with schools, eldercare, a hospital, a library, housing, larger industrial companies and so on. Electricity-wise we are connected to Sweden but the submarine could get cut and then we have to work it out on our own, says Rasmus Christensen.

One thousand families participate

Nine partners participate in EcoGrid 2.0 which was launched in spring with a session at Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby. Almost 1,000 families from Bornholm have made their heat pumps and electric radiators available for the project, which really kicks off with the upcoming heating season. One of the tasks will be to create a market for flexibility that the power grid can use to balance demand and supply from second to second.

Controlling one heat pump does not make a lot of sense to the energy system so the idea is to pool customers by way of so-called aggregators that steer the heating elements on behalf of the families within the comfort levels that Mr. and Mrs. Kofoed have decided (Kofoed being a common name on Bornholm).

Bornholms Energi & Forsyning is contacting more possible participants and getting their acceptance to participate in a new round of R&D. Without good, personal relation between the energy company and customers this kind of project is impossible to complete.

Denmark's most beautiful house

Rasmus Christensen believes that it is good to have different types of projects to develop solutions that will ensure a continued expansion of wind energy and solar cells. A demonstration project such as EnergyLab Nordhavn makes it possible to test completely new solutions in a completely new city district whilst EcoGrid-EU and now EcoGrid 2.0 takes vantage point from housing with heating systems that have been around for up to 25 years old.

-       We are testing the future on new and old units in some of Denmark's most charming houses in the lower energy classes - so new and old hardware in houses with no climate envelope, says the CEO.

Denmark has one of the most stable power grids and customers have power in their sockets for 99.997 percent of the time. On Bornholm the supply safety is high but Rasmus sees challenges on the horizon.

-       We see into a future with renewable energy, batteries, electrical cars and heat pumps. There will be a heavy load on certain times of the day on certain places. Eventually, we will need to be able to move and even out parts of the consumption, says Rasmus Christensen.

To the new CEO it is important to attract knowledge workers and energy and climate tourists. People come to Bornholm to enjoy the nature and in the past few years the culinary experiences have moved up a level. The joy of natural wonders, cultural treasures and gourmet restaurants will now be supplemented with an interest for green solutions. EcoGridEu alone attracted 400 decision makers from 52 countries.

-       Denmark is seen as an environmental first mover - I have experienced this from my time in China. With strong support from the political system, Bornholm is one of Denmark's green flagships - and we have to build on that, says Rasmus Christensen.

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SPØRGSMÅL og besøg i Villa Smart

Pauli Hjorth Hansen (Østkraft)
Telefon: 56 930 952 eller 40 283 007


Jesper Tornbjerg (Dansk Energi)
Telefon: 35 300 470


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