Chinese students got to learn about the energy systems of the future

Summer interns at Powel have developed a prototype which can help local communities establish more sustainable energy systems. 

“It was a lot of fun presenting the ideas we have worked on all summer to such a large group of dedicated students,” says summer student in Powel, Mari Dahl Benum. 

In an NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) classroom, 30 international students were listening to the results from Powel. The summer students have developed a data program that simulates how a smart city can optimise their resources, ensuring that local energy resources are utilised in a way that is both profitable and sustainable. This involves local and green energy production combined with consumer flexibility, where grid owners, energy producers, local governments and inhabitants become one local energy system.  

Large investments in the power grid needed

“The Norwegian power grid is facing large investments. Meanwhile, local energy production is on the rise and consumer patterns are changing. This gives us a number of challenges,” explains the student’s mentor and Powel’s Chief Strategist, Klaus Livik. “By thinking differently and developing new and innovative solutions, costs will be reduced, benefits will increase and incentives for forward-thinking, local energy solutions will be strengthened.” 

Local energy solutions will arise through increased use of energy from solar, wind and batteries, but not least through smarter consumption patterns amongst people in general. Grid companies stand to lose money by fewer people using energy from their grid, but simultanously, they will save money through lower needs for investments. 

Smart to charge electric cars at night

“Charging your electric car at night when electricity prices are at their lowest will mean large savings for our society,” says Øyvind Steensland, another of Powel’s summer students. 

Powel is proud of the efforts the students have put into this project and will be using the results from the case study in future work on the EU project Smart City, where we are a partner. 

“The work done by the students is very impressive and we will continue working with these innovative solutions,” says Livik. “Energy consumption needs to become more environmentally correct, which means that we have to challenge the old ways of thinking and be innovative. We look forward to the continuation and we believe that in the long run our solutions will not only be used in Europe, but also in other parts of the world,” he concludes. 

The international students were listening intently during the presentation and asked several questions. Although they found the line of thinking exciting, they still thought that their home countries have a long way to go in order to become more environmentally friendly, both in mindset and in behaviour.  

France is no fan of wind power 

“In France, nuclear energy is the most common. We do have some wind power as well, but people do not like the windmills. We are probably not as far ahead as you when it comes to sustainable energy solutions,” says Lisane Carre. 

In China, there is little focus on local communities when it comes to energy solutions. 

“In China we have one solution for the whole population and stability is the number one priority. We do have environmentally friendly solutions, such as wind energy, but it is not being used as the production is not stable enough,” says Shuting Zhuang.

The summer students finish their internship with Powel on 17 August, but both the students and Powel are left with a lot of knowledge and new ideas after six weeks of hard work. 

“It has been six fantastic, educational and exciting weeks. Now we are just keeping our fingers crossed that our IT prototype will come in useful during the Smart City project,” finishes Mari Dahl Benum.