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Features Zurich, Switzerland 07-12-2022

4 min read

AEW Looks to Battery Energy Storage Systems in the Next Chapter of The Energy Transition

AEW Energie AG

Contrast is evident across the canton of Aargau, in the north of Switzerland. Castles dot the riverways alongside advanced technology research buildings and state-of-the art manufacturing. The region has stayed true to its deep heritage, while also looking forward with an emphasis on conservation and sustainability.

AEW Energie AG is the independent electricity company for the canton. With the goals of delivering secure and climate-friendly energy, AEW is committed to making a difference by protecting the natural resources and enhancing quality of life in the region. Even as new concerns like energy availability and cybersecurity come in to play, AEW remains focused on climate neutrality (net zero) by 2040. This is reflected by a multi-faceted approach. In electricity production, AEW harnesses hydropower from local sources, as well as solar and wind energy. The energy network AEW manages includes both homes and energy-intensive industry. This network is digitally advanced and designed for maximum security, while always operating with high availability. To support the range of future energy needs while meeting sustainability and reliability targets requires ingenuity and strong partnerships.

Ready for what’s ahead

AEW’s story is representative of larger shifts in energy, where power generation infrastructure is decentralized, consumers are becoming prosumers, and the grid system is asked to do more than it ever has before. The common challenge across all stakeholders is how to adapt to this new decentralized model, while delivering energy securely and sustainably. In looking at new ways to enhance the energy network, AEW recently added a battery energy storage system (BESS), with intelligent automation software from Hitachi Energy. Known as the e-meshTM portfolio, the combined solution provides AEW with a BESS, advanced analytics, software, and digital capabilities to both meet the needs of today and what is ahead tomorrow.  

AEW is first taking an exploratory approach. They plan to initially utilize the BESS with a capacity of 5.5 MW/10MWh as a learning platform to enhance grid stability and add more distributed energy resources (DERs) to their operations. Longer term, there are plans to identify capabilities that can address new market opportunities, including managing EVs within their grid, virtual power plants (VPPs), and energy trading.

“We know there are many complexities at play in today’s energy market and have worked with Hitachi Energy for a long time as a valued partner,” said René Soland, Head of Business Unit Grids and member of the Management Team of AEW Energie AG. “What is exciting is that the BESS can give us new ways to orchestrate, optimize, and manage our existing infrastructure, as well as a path to the future, especially with more renewable power and the expected increase in electrification across many industries.”

A Swiss-Army knife for the energy transition

At the core, the e-mesh software platform and BESS connect with various power sources to provide uninterrupted and high-quality power. The real key to stabilizing grids and unlocking new revenue streams comes from the integrated, intelligent software with digital capabilities. This foundation allows new concepts, like VPP become reality. This concept enables electricity produced from DERs, even at the consumer level, to be integrated intelligently, simulating a utility-scale power system. Here the BESS is a critical part of the VPP infrastructure, providing grid stability by balancing the intermittent generation with smart and dynamic loads.

“AEW is looking at the long-term with a view not only to their sustainability goals, but also the interests and needs of their customers, which is truly admirable and innovative,” said Maxine Ghavi, Head of Grid Edge Solutions for Hitachi Energy. “Being able to use the e-mesh as a platform for their plans shows the flexibility and expandability of our solutions, wherever and whenever they might be needed.”

Hitachi Energy is proud to work with customers like AEW in driving the evolution of the grid itself. Backed by more than thirty years of innovation and leadership in energy storage and microgrids, the company has provided electricity to communities that once looked at reliable power as far-off dream. And we’re just getting started. Our aim for the next 30 years is to bring electricity to the remaining 940 million people still without access across the globe and enabling a sustainable, flexible, and secure power grid to advance a sustainable energy future for all.