It is about whether danes can play an active role in the green transition in the future through the so-called citizen-energy communities. They have experience with that in Australia.
In order for Denmark to achieve its green energy targets by 2030, more local engagement is needed around the country. Therefore, with new legislation, the government has made it possible for citizens, businesses and institutions to enter into citizen-energy communities, also called BEF. The Communities must make it easier to reduce energy consumption and balance renewable energy sources, while at the same time taking into account bottlenecks in the collective electricity network.
With the legislation, the government hopes that the communities will take initiatives to, among other things, produce and share green energy or build charging infrastructure for electric cars.
"The energy communities are an interesting element in the green transition, but it is also very new, and it will take time to learn how energy production and energy consumption in the new communities interact with the grid", says Per Madsen, CEO of Watts.
Students from Australia
In Australia, citizens have been trading electricity with each other for several years, which is why Watts hopes to draw on the country's experience to become even smarter about the energy communities of the future at home.
"Much further has been achieved in Australia, where energy communities take advantage of the many hours of sunshine. That is why we have partnered with the University of Adelaide so that we can already gain relevant experience", says Per Madsen and continues:
"Specifically, the collaboration consists in the fact that we have hired four PhD students from the university, who in the next four years will draw on already existing knowledge and at the same time create new knowledge within the smart and flexible energy system of the future."
The four PhD students will be responsible for each of their research areas, while Watts continuously contributes sparring, knowledge about the Danish electricity system and development of the company's app of the same name. In the future, it must be able to be used by the energy communities to show real-time consumption and make it possible to buy and sell excess energy.
In Watts, there is pleasure in attracting talented students from across the globe to help develop solutions for the benefit of the green transition, and that the students will later go one semester to Denmark:
"It's fantastic that the University of Adelaide has accepted a collaboration, and it's even been easy to find PhD students who want to research energy communities. Together, we will help danes become active players in relation to the smart grid, so that they can save on electricity bills and at the same time contribute to achieving the government's climate goals. We call it creating personal green transition together", says Per Madsen.
Research in Australia
Each research project is based on relevant research areas within energy communities. The three areas are:
Exploiting flexibility: how can we become better at harnessing our own energy? Should we sell surplus energy to the local energy community or to the electricity market?
Willingness of energy consumers: How willing are we to make our own energy systems available and to sell off what we have in surplus?
Flexibility Market Algorithms: Developing algorithms for the Watts app that can help energy consumers buy and sell energy and make the best possible profit.