Envelio: Helping to Integrate Renewable Energy Sources into the Grid
Envelio is an innovative software for energy grids. It has been developed to help better integrate renewable energy sources, and new request for energy supply into the energy grid.
It is a very interesting project, started in Germany, but that could rapidly expand to other countries as the software created by the team at envelio does solve a relevant problem for modern energy grids.
Could envelio be a solution that would facilitate the access to the grid to small energy suppliers? How this idea could help increasing global sustainability?
Impakter has reached to the Founder and CEO of envelio, Simon Koopman, to better understand this. Let’s see what he has to say:
What is the story of envelio?
Simon Koopman: envelio is a spin-off from RWTH Aachen University in Germany founded in April of 2017. Me and my co-founders, we are researchers at heart and have a background in energy system research. For the past five years, we have been working on new optimization and machine learning algorithms for power grids to enable the transition to a sustainable energy system.
After completing our PhDs we founded envelio to achieve a transfer of our research results to everyday application at grid operators.
How does Envelio work?
S. K. : At an envelio, we are developing a software platform for energy grids that helps to integrate renewable energy sources and new types of energy consumers like e.g. charging points for electric vehicles into our energy system.
The trend towards more sustainable energy systems worldwide creates a bottleneck in the grid infrastructure. A smart grid management with our solution Intelligent Grid Platform (IGP) helps to upgrade today’s infrastructure for the mass integration of renewables.
Here is one example of how we can accelerate the integration process from our work with grid operators in Germany: If a new wind park or a large solar power plant needs to be connected to the grid, an evaluation process performed by the grid operator is triggered. This process takes several days up to weeks today.
With our solution we provide an online feasibility check for a new grid connection that is integrated into the grid operator’s website and which is completed within a couple of seconds thanks to our high-performance platform.
How many clients have joined envelio so far?
S. K. : We managed to close contracts with several new grid operators last year – so there is definitely a growing need and interest for our solution.
Thus far, our core focus is our home market Germany where we are already working with major grid operators like Westnetz (Innogy Group, largest German grid operator operating 10% of the German grid), E.DIS (E.ON Group) or Netze BW.
In the last couple of months, we have also started our international expansion with a large pilot project with Iberdrola in Spain.
What do you think need to be done to change the current electric grid system?
S. K. : From my perspective, we definitely need more transparency and more flexibility in the grid to integrate all the renewables, but also new consumers and energy storage. If we really want to achieve our climate objectives, we have to increase the automation level and data management capabilities in our energy system. Otherwise we will not have a properly functioning renewable energy system in a couple of years.
What are your thoughts about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)? How do you think your company can give a positive contribution in that sense?
S. K. : From my perspective, the SDGs are a great way of standardizing our global efforts for a sustainable development.
SDG number 7 “Affordable and clean energy” is an integral part of envelio’s vision and mission. Our technology enables more renewable energy sources and can also help with grid development and access to energy in emerging countries.
Another example here: Together with our partner Lahmeyer International our Intelligent Grid Platform is being used for planning grid upgrades to connect people who do not have access to electricity today in a project in Bangladesh.
In the cover picture: The envelio’s map of the electric grid in a neighborhood. Photo Credits: envelio.