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On 21st March more than 100 energy specialists from France and Germany attended a conference at Hager Group’s main site in Obernai, Alsace, devoted to the highly topical theme of “Smart Grid - an essential tool for the energy transition”. The event was hosted by the engineering associations VDI (in Germany) and Arisal (in France) and provided an opportunity for experts from both of these neighbouring countries to discuss what tomorrow’s energy system will look like. It was only fitting that the conference should be held on Hager Group premises, given that, with its many research projects, pilot tests and pioneering energy management systems, the Franco-German family business is one of the most important drivers of the energy transition currently taking place in Europe.
Energy-efficiency construction, Blieskastel
A concrete example of Hager Group’s commitment to change is its new 3,000m2 Research and Application Centre in Blieskastel. Opened during Autumn 2013, the building was designed as a kind of high-efficiency power plant, capable, all year round, of generating at least two thirds of its energy needs. Solar panels on the roof produce electricity from the sun’s energy, a high-efficiency combined heat and power unit in the basement is used to convert gas into heat and electricity and the generated energy is stored in a 100 kWh buffer. The heart and brains of the building, however, are an innovative energy management system, which with photovoltaic technology, combined heat and power unit and public electricity distribution network not only coordinate three energy sources simultaneously, but also act as a weather station and calculate the building’s energy requirements. Some 5,000 data points spread throughout the building record each individual user’s energy consumption in real time and feed the data into the calculation model of the management system Hager Group has developed with its partners. This means energy generation can be increasingly balanced with consumption and in a few years from now it may be possible to disconnect the building from the public energy distribution network completely. Already, according to predictions, it should take less than five years to amortise the €1.6 million invested in the energy concept and management system.
Promising pilot projects in France and Germany
Before long, this exceptional building in Blieskastel should become a model for many more energy efficiency projects. Hager Group is currently working to install similar energy management systems in several hundred private and commercial buildings in both France and Germany. The first Saarland households should be kitted out before the end of the year as part of a large-scale field trial and a similar pilot test is already under way in France. At the beginning of April 2014, Hager Group is presenting its system to the public for the first time when it attends Light+Building in Frankfurt, the world’s biggest trade fairdealing with energy-efficiency.
Smart grids for tomorrow’s energy systems
The question is, how can such model solutions be connected up in a large-scale sustainable energy supply network?What else needs to be done to make headway in the energy transition? It is questions like these that Hager Group experts are currently examining in Saarland in the context of a ground-breaking project. With the “Saarland regional energy innovation initiative”, energy suppliers, research institutes, end users and industrial firms like Hager Group have joined forces to form a network so that, together, they can explore completely new solutions and put them into practice as models on a local level. The significance of the project extends far beyond the regional borders of Saarland. It is expected that this model for future energy supply will provide the necessary impetus for re-dynamising the energy transition in Germany and far beyond.
Huge savings potential for residential and commercial buildings
The need for new dynamism was the subject of broad consensus among the experts attending the “Smart Grid” conference, who were welcomed by, among others, Daniel Hager, CEO of Hager Group. Johannes Hauck from Hager Group Corporate Business Development gave a presentation on the enormous savings potential of “smart” buildings. According to him, “Buildings account for over 40% of energy consumption. With smart networks, intelligent communication systems, and efficient energy storage devices, future buildings will be able to cover a large share of their energy needs themselves throughout the year.”
One thing is already clear: Hager Group already plays an energetic key role in this field.
Press Release : Hager Group Smart Grid 2014 (ZIP, 215 KB)
Pictures : Hager Group Smart Grid 2014 (ZIP, 2,7 MB)