Heating season is at the doorstep and 1,000 people from Bornholm are getting ready for a new season of tests on the future intelligent energy system. EcoGrid 2.0 was launched a few months ago but the serious testing starts now.
The nine partners behind the project have prepared for this moment and - most importantly - Bornholms Energi & Forsyning (BEOF) have managed to assemble 1,000 families and their equipment. 700 households with heat pumps and 300 households with electric radiators are participating. All homes are equipped with meters and can deliver data to the project.
- The foundation is laid and we can now carry out some really exciting tests and analyses, says project manager Kim Kock-Hansen from BEOF.
EcoGrid 2.0 is standing on the shoulders of the concluded EcoGridEU project where Maja Bendtsen from Østkraft acted as a surrogate mother to the project and its 2,000 participating families. She has found a new job at Jensen Denmark in Rønne and Østkraft has fused into the nye Bornholms Energi & Forsyning.
Kim Kock-Hansen laughs at the thought that he will act as the 'father' of EcoGrid 2.0, but he is ready to take on a central role in the project.
- I sense that the partners are passionate about the cause and we now need to develop some products to a market - a market that is not yet established, says Kim who had to leave his native Bornholm to get an education - just as many other youths from the island do.
Kim Kock-Hansen studied geology and worked in Aarhus og Copenhagen before he returned to the Baltic Sea with his wife Gunhild, who is from Jutland, and their newborn twins, Josefine and Jonas.
- Our choice was between Herning and Bornholm. We were attracted by the low prices on houses on Bornholm and decided to try it out. We have now been here for 11 ½ years and we are both very happy - the kids love it here, says Kim Kock-Hansen.
Electric radiators and heat pumps in the homes on Bornholm are already under control but some important questions remain: What comfort limits will families choose, can they live with 18 degrees celsius in their homes for four hours - or should the temperature in the living room stay constant around 21 degrees celsius?
Another task is to test what benefits the power grid can get from smart steering of one part of the energy consumption - and what economic gains can be created and shared between the industry's partners.
EcoGrid 2.0 is for the most part an IT project where possibilities to maximise the rapid digitalisation of the energy sector are being examined. Kim Kock-Hansen has only been with Bornholms Energi & Forsyning since summer so he is still getting to know the energy sector. He can, however - after a retraining from academic to IT expert - contribute with solid knowledge and understanding of customers after 17 years of education and tuition of people, such as unemployed.
- Why Energy? I have a nature science background and I believe that Bornholm's vision for a Bright Green Island is exciting. By joining research & development projects on a bigger scale, we can create new possibilities for Bornholm and Bornholmers, says Kim Kock-Hansen, who works on EcoGrid 2.0 with Dansk Energi (project manager), IBM, Insero Software, Uptime-IT, DTU Elektro, CBS, KRUKOW and 2+1 and thereby gets new impulses to the rocky Baltic island.
As a Bornholmer, Kim Kock-Hansen knows the challenges that the municipality faces with regards to attaining youths as well as older people. Fishing previously laid a solid foundation but most cutters are scrapped today and most jobs in the follow industry have gone.
The vision of a Bright Green Island is a reaction to the fishing crisis - this is also what has initiated the research centre, Center for Regional- og Turismeforskning (CRT) in Nexø, which looks at alternatives within energy and tourism. Kim Koch-Hansen has added to his knowledge about leadership by taking a M.Sc. from Roskilde Universitet – with focus on outlying areas and connected to CRT’s work.
Couples that move to Bornholm should find jobs for both partners and on a personal level, the family Kock-Hansen resolved this when Gunhild quickly found a job at the hospital in Rønne. She later changed to Bornholms Sundheds- og Sygeplejeskole, where she teaches now. The family lives in a former station building outside Rønne. The house is serviced with district heating so the family cannot participate in EcoGrid 2.0.
- I look forward to receiving data that can be used to develop the energy system and hopefully also deliver some good offers to our customers. Both the energy system and Bornholm are facing complex challenges so it would be great if we could develop good solutions together, says Kim Kock-Hansen.
EcoGrid 2.0 is financed by the project partners and Energistyrelsen's EUDP-initiative.
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