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IEEE: The expertise to make smart grid a reality

Marie Fossum

 Marie Fossum, Vice President for New Business at Fortum, a provider of sustainable energy solutions in Nordic countries, Russia and the Baltic Rim area

Our next Smart Grid expert is Marie Fossum, Vice President for New Business at Fortum, a provider of sustainable energy solutions in Nordic countries, Russia and the Baltic Rim area. Interviewed during the first IEEE Smart Grid World Forum in Brussels, Marie shares details of a smart grid pilot project known as the Stockholm Seaport Program, which focuses on creating a new sustainable area of Stockholm.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION

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I work with business development. I'm responsible for business development in this company called Fortum, which is a utility company producing, distributing, and selling electricity. In addition, we have CHP production, as well, which is heat. My responsibility is very much close to the end consumer type of products and services that we want to develop for the new energy system or a new energy world.

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Stockholm seaport program, it's about creating a new sustainable area of Stockholm. What we want to do there is to build 10,000 new apartments, 30,000 new office spaces, a new harbor of Stockholm. The end goal is to reduce the CO2 emissions from 4.5 ton per person down to 1.5 now in 2020. Then in 2030, to have a climate positive part of Stockholm, which is quite a tough goal, actually.

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With the new world and with the CO2 emissions and everything and reduction of that, energy efficiency and the energy system is a big part of that. Also, the transportation system and the transportation system in the future will most likely have some kind of electricity in it. The grid, from a grid perspective, all those new solutions are impacting the grid in one way or another. What we have to do is to figure out what the new grid structure would look like for the future in order to enable those new products and services that are now being developed.

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An average, in Sweden, we talk about for a flat maybe, is it 5,000 kilowatt hours approximately? In addition here, in Sweden, we normally use electricity for heating, which is not so normal down in Europe. In this area, we will have a district heating system as well which will then reduce some of the CO2 emissions, dependent on the electricity or the production mix. So, the consumption, I guess, will vary very much and maybe between 2,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours, I would say, per flat.

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With the new harbor, that is a special area in itself, and today when the ships are docking into the harbor, they are going on diesel. What we're going to do is electrify this and to see what is required and how much CO2 emissions we potentially could save by going on electricity instead of going on those big diesel systems.

We're now in the middle of a pre-study. We don't have the solutions ready. We're in the middle of trying find the new solutions and the technical solution for the harbor. In addition to the boats docking into an electrified system, we will have the terminal as being an active house. With an active house, we mean the house is producing energy in itself. We have distributed energy systems, such as solar PVs or smaller wind turbines, that are producing energy as we consume it at the same time. That's also something that we would like to install and implement into this area.

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The consumer is a very important part of this project. We will evaluate end user products and services during this project phase. Monitoring of consumption is extremely important and giving the end user enough information so that the user can also act through the energy system, dependent on prices, dependent on what fuel type we're using in the system right now so that the consumer can know that and potentially also react to that. That would be a big part of the Royal Seaport program. We will try to evaluate along the way. We will make contracts with the end user so that we can test different things also with the end user, but then evaluate and potentially also change a bit of the technical solutions to know what will be the best one for the future to use.

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Yeah, people will move in and be a part of the experiment, that's one way of putting it, but also take the advantages of it. What we believe is that this is the future. We believe that the regulations for buildings, for example, will be in this direction for the future. So most likely, the price of the apartments will raise and it will be an investment for the end user. That's at least what we believe right now. The user will, in one way or another, be evaluated and that's one of the parts of Royal Seaport, definitely.

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At this stage, it's very much about a pilot stage. We are in the middle of a pre-study now. We are 12 different partners from various sectors. It's municipalities, construction companies. It's utility companies like ourselves. It's transportation companies. It's lots of different . . . it's all the parts, really, needed to build an area involved in this.

We're now doing a large pre-study that will end in the end of March next year, 2011. The result of that pre-study is an implementation plan and what's needed to do in the Royal Seaport program.

The first building will start to be built in the end of next year. For the first phase, now, it's quite urgent to get the requirements on the grid system, so that we, from Fortum's point of view, know what to implement for the first building. So that's kind of what we're focused on right now.

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The architects are involved for some of the parts, at least the first phase. There'll be different phases that we'll build this area. We don't know exactly how the buildings will look like. What we work with now is to shape the buildings, make sure that they are in the right position so that we can take advantage of the sun, for example, in the best way or the winter blinds in the best way.

The position of the houses is something that is extremely important for us to find. Then I just, actually, met on the flight over here to Brussels one of the architects that is involved in the Royal Seaport. There are various, now, different examples that will be most likely chosen during next year. Then we'll start with pre-selling of the apartments the end of next year.

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It is a unique program for Sweden. We don't have that many in this size. We don't have that many where all the players are involved in this magnitude. It is a unique program in a sense that we have the authorities involved. The Energy Agency is funding part of the program. Also, we have international eyes on us, Clinton Foundation organization have selected this as one of 18 initiatives around the globe that they focus upon for smart cities. In that sense, we will also have international expectations on us. In that sense it is also unique..

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I think that the Australian project is a bit ahead of us. I think they have been starting a little bit ahead of us when it comes to buildings. They're also part of the Clinton Foundation project, according to my understanding. So, in that sense, we can share some knowledge and take some advantages of it, what we try to find here in Stockholm and what they find down in Australia.

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For the PV system as such, that's one thing. The thing is that for the smart grid, if you just install PVs or if you just install the displays in apartments or if you only install charging units someplace, that's not interesting in itself. You have to put all the systems together and to monitor this and try to get some of kind interaction between the different systems. That's when we get the advantages and full scale and can reduce the energy or get the energy efficiency goals that we really want to get. It's only when you have managed to do that, that you are finished, I would say.

We have also built some houses in Sweden and Finland. We have put photovoltaics on the roof. We have displays outside the elevators where we show the production from the house. We show how much the users consume and everything.

But still, until we have the interaction with the grid system so we can reduce a little bit the peaks when the demand curve is, or the other way around actually, so that we can actually work with the system in a way so that when we have a high demand, we potentially can lower the demand in areas where it's not needed.

The most important thing is to get the system to interact and to work in a two-way flow. In periods where we have high demand in some area, we would like to lower the consumption in other areas so that we don't have a high peak in all the areas at the same time, because normally it's not needed.

That's kind of the thing that we want to work with and try to find where we can balance the system and we can let it work with the end consumers as well and to get help from them when we need, maybe, electricity in other parts of the system. We can squeeze the consumption over to nighttime for example for some loads, if possible.

Let's say your electrical vehicle in the future, maybe you don't need to charge it during the daytime. You can wait to charge it until it's night when the demand is not so high. Maybe you don't want to get up during the night and take a look at it. It's possible to charge now. You want us, as a utility, to put on the on button and to make sure it's being charged when your tariffs are low, when the price tariffs are low so you don't have to pay as much.

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The total project is supposed to be finished in 2030. We're talking about quite a long-term program here. We are just seeing now the beginning of the Royal Seaport. Now, as I say, we are 12 partners working together. The goal is now to find this implementation plan in April for everyone to sign it and then to really get started in the next year. So we're looking forward to that.

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Looking at utilities, I mean, we're used to working with long cycles. Sixty years investments is kind of a normal way of doing the investments in the utility business. Look at the grid structure. We have been building the grid in the same way for the last 70 years, and now we're going to totally change everything. We're going from a one-way flow over to a two-way flow, and that's a quite big dramatical change.

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I think it's several things. I think it's about the technology to be more mature, but also about information to the end consumer so that the end consumer really understands what it's all about. Until we can describe this in a clever way, and I can't do this, I just realized that, how can the end consumer try to act upon it and try to understand what we mean? I think it will take some time for us to test various technologies, put the system together, and then also to inform and educate the end consumer along the way and to make sure that the entire system works in a proper way in a couple of years. It will take us time, definitely.

There will be new business models arising. There will be new business opportunities coming up there. Is it really the utilities that will take the role of integrating this energy system? I mean, there are lots of things now that are up in the air. We have definitely only seen the start of it.

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They are doing the financing right now of the program. We have the Energy Agency of Sweden that is being involved. They are funding 40% of the program right now. Then when the next phase comes, the implementation phase, then we talk about much more money. Then most likely we'll send in an application to EU and asking for the EU money instead of only Swedish money.

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Definitely. I mean there are lots of private companies involved in this, and the Energy Agency is just only putting in money if there is fresh money to it as well. So, Fortum as a company, being a private owned company, we invest quite a lot in this program, together with ABB, together with Ericsson, together with NCC, and other players. So 40% now for the pre-studies from the Agency and the rest is coming from the rest of the players involved in the program.

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Definitely. I would say it has been a very good conference and lots of good speakers. I should be nervous now coming down and having the next session as most of the speakers have been extremely good and well prepared. I think it's a very good conference.

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