Energy clusters, also called microgrids, are the market response to the growing importance of local and renewable energy in the energy mix and the related need to adapt the energy system. Energy clusters contribute to local energy security by increasing local production, creating conditions for cooperation of producers, consumers and prosumers on the market, reducing dependence on foreign fuel supplies, protecting the environment, creating conditions for sustainable waste management, development of civil society as well as rationalization and increase of the level of using local energy resources. The reliability of energy supply resulting from the organization of clusters is important especially for the pace of economic and social development of areas with weaker energy infrastructure. The Ministry of Energy and the AGH University of Science and Technology and the National Center for Nuclear Research as part of the “KlastER” project will launch pilot energy clusters in selected locations as well as develop the Competence Network for Distributed Energy. The collection of developed concepts and technological solutions will allow for the development of a coherent Strategy for the development of energy clusters in Poland. It will be a strong impulse to accelerate the development of distributed energy in Poland, which is a visible trend of the global economy.
As a member of the “KlastER” project, the Interdisciplinary Department of Energy Analysis (National Centre for Nuclear Research) will create IT tools for managing energy clusters. The purpose of the IT tools is to extract maximal economical and ecological potential from energy clusters. They will enable short-term balancing, thus planning the work of the dispatchable resources within 24/48 hours. This module will allow to plan the work of generating units and active loads in a way that minimizes the cost of the operation of the local energy system, with the integrated forecasts of wind, solar and energy demand. In the long-term, the developed algorithms will indicate the directions of optimal infrastructure development, including the investment process schedule for type and power of the generating unit and the optimal moment of its start in the system.
Energy clusters lie along the path of European Union objectives presented in the proposal for directives and regulation “Clean energy for all Europeans, or how to unleash Europe’s growth potential”, also called the “Winter Package”. It begins a new chapter in the construction of European energy after 2020, introduces the concept of a local energy community, binding producers and recipients in order to ensure the highest possible level of stabilization. Solutions developed in Poland can contribute to the development of renewable energy throughout the world.