The hat it winds me almost from the head, as I get off the plane, and the sun burns hot on the runway. This is exactly why I’m on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Porto Santo. The sun and the Wind should in the medium term, producing all of the electricity for the island. Fittingly, twenty electric cars wait in front of the airport. Renault has made Porto Santo 14-electric Zoe, and six Kangoo Z. E. available in order to integrate them in an intelligent power grid with green energy. How this works, I learn now.
In a Zoe, Eric Feunteun, Director of the Renault electric car program, drive me, to the power plant. The eleven kilometres long and six kilometres wide, the island has an independent power grid. The African mainland, located about 700 kilometers to the East, and 42 kilometres South of Madeira, there is no power line. “As a result, the island is ideal as a laboratory,” explains Feunteun. “It responds quickly to the smallest changes, and we see, immediately, what is the impact of a higher share of electric cars.”
stability thanks to Diesel
The power plant will run according to the nailing of two diesel generators. They cover 85 per cent of the daily energy requirement. “The generators need for a constant flow of energy in the network,” explains Feunteun. “In an imbalance of production and consumption, a power failure is imminent.” And this is in the case of solar and wind energy, which are weather dependent and are therefore not predictable. With the local government, the electricity company and the German company Mobility House Renault wants to compensate for this unpredictability, in Porto Santo.
sun, energy saving
Feunteun drives me on a hill close to a solar system with over 11’000 cells. Over lunch and in the early afternoon, you could almost cover the entire electricity demand of the island. But only half is used. “Because a cloud can leave the power production of the solar cells, a break-in, you must run the diesel generator more. He could not otherwise jump in fast enough.” But what about the excess produced solar power?”, I have a question. “Our electric cars are coming to the train,” answers Feunteun with a grin and moves back to the place. “The Software of the Mobility House monitors power production and usage, and loads the E-cars only, if there is too much renewable energy is produced.” We stop in front of a nondescript concrete building with a palm tree. Behind a metal door three disused Zoe batteries are. “They serve as energy storage for excess solar energy from surrounding private photovoltaic systems,” explains Feunteun. For the car, these batteries are no longer suitable, but you can be again 10 to 15 years.
Only the beginning
“Alone, through the better Management of all these systems by the Mobility House, we can increase this year the share of renewable energies from 15 to 25 percent,” Feunteun convinced. Next year, 35 percent of electricity consumption will be green. For this purpose, will be built by the end of the summer, a house a large battery with four megawatts of capacity to solar and wind energy storage. You will later replace the generators and the constant flow of energy in the network guarantee. Here, bi-directional electric to help cars, the electricity also back to the network feed. This requires, however, that the cars are always in a bi-directional charging station or Wallbox, holds Feunteun and supplemented. “The owners need to rethink. You are no longer in control, when your car is loaded. The current operators to decide.” Via the App, the owner can determine when the car is shut-down to be ready, the batteries should always be charged at least 30 percent, in order to guarantee the owners a certain degree of flexibility.
Two bi-directional prototypes, tests, Renault is currently in Porto Santo. Until next year, 100 electricity to circulate on the island – 10 percent of all vehicles. At the same time, Renault launches Belle more experimental projects on the French Islands-Île-en-Mer and La Réunion. The remote target: the power grid of an entire city of intelligent make.