Interview with PLANET Technical Manager Antonis Papanikolaou, HYPERTECH

We asked some thoughts from our Technical Manager Antonis Papanikolaou at HYPERTECH about the opportunities, threats and overall relevance of PLANET in the context of today’s and tomorrow’s energy markets:

For project such as PLANET, what do you consider being the biggest opportunity in the smart energy industry?

Renewable energy sources have and will continue to spearhead the race for clean electricity generation, and a proliferation of decentralized intermittent RES, directly connected to the distribution grid, can be expected by 2030 and beyond. RES will play a major role in the efforts towards decarbonisation and getting rid of the fossil fuels.

However, this brings around some challenges that need to be solved: The main one relating to the intermittency of the electricity supply which can lead to grid problems such as congestion and imbalance between generation and demand. This evolution effectively lays ground for a solution such as PLANET. Indeed, the project will develop a holistic decision support system for the optimal orchestration of the different energy networks for policy makers and network operators. It will aid them to leverage innovative energy conversion in alternative carriers and storage technologies in order to explore, identify, evaluate and quantitatively assess optimal grid planning and management strategies for future energy scenarios targeting full energy system decarbonization.

That brings me to the next question, there seems to be two sides to the coin when it comes to the renewables. How about when talking about the threats to the smart energy industry, from PLANET point of view what would be the biggest threat?

Rapidly increasing adoption of distributed energy resources as well as the development of network synergies and conversion technologies are actively transforming the delivery of electricity services. Hence, the proliferation of the proposed storage/conversion technologies and dispersed energy generators call for a deep rethinking of current regulatory instruments used to encourage the widespread deployment of green energy generation means. The phase of the technology advancements and market expectations call for evolution of the regulatory framework. For this very reason, the PLANET consortium is paying special attention to the preparation of applicable policy recommendations so that they are directly usable by the relevant authorities for measurable impact on the standardization and policy making/regulation fronts.

What makes PLANET such an innovative and relevant project today and in the future?

The discussion on power-to-gas and power-to-heat is intriguing and very timely, this considering also the opportunity offered nowadays by innovative energy storage system. Following this, the PLANET demonstrates how leveraging innovative energy conversion in alternative carriers & storage technologies will assist with optimal grid planning and management strategies while keeping eyes on the prize: the full energy system decarbonisation. On the other hand, the future energy system scenarios defining the boundary market and regulatory conditions for optimization will certainly be one of the popular discussion topics all across Europe, that PLANET aims to provide answer to.