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Wind and Solar Integration Workshops To Take Place In Vienna




At the 15th Wind Integration and the 6th Solar Integration Workshop in Vienna, Austria on 14th to 17th November 2016, experts on power systems and renewable energy will come together.

Two highlights of the conference season will take place in Vienna from 14-17 November 2016. About 400 participants from power system operators, transmission and distribution grid operators, wind turbine and solar inverter manufacturer, universities and research institutes, and consulting companies will convene for the 15th Wind Integration and the 6th Solar Integration Workshop. The experts on renewable grid integration solutions will review and discuss recent advances in technology and exchange ideas on how to jointly tackle the challenges of the coming years.

The primary objective is to stimulate interdisciplinary thinking between industry and research by providing a platform for discussion and for sharing ideas and knowledge regarding the key issues in the field of large-scale integration of wind and solar power. “These workshops have always been and will always be about advances in the field of grid integration of renewable energy technologies. Not about the marketing of individual interests”, emphasises Dr. Thomas Ackermann, organiser of the events, the importance of the workshops’ scientific focus. The importance of grid integration of variable renewables is constantly increasing world-wide. Considering the speed of renewable installations in many countries, power system operators have less and less time to thoroughly analyse and investigate the grid integration issues. In consequence, sharing international experience from renewable grid integration is becoming more and more important.

The Workshops in 2016

The 15th Wind Integration and the 6th Solar Integration Workshop offer the perfect opportunity to do just that!

With a total of 17 solar and 26 wind sessions the spectrum of topics ranges from grid integration studies and experiences to grid codes, modelling, and questions of forecasting. The Wind Integration Workshop covers all aspects relevant to large-scale integration of wind power into power systems. It will additionally focus on ancillary services and on connection of offshore wind power plants with HVDC. One special focus of the Solar Integration Workshop will be storage integration. Moreover, the experts will discuss economic questions regarding grid integration and electricity markets regulation as well as smart grid concepts.

Participants not only value the diverse range of topics, but also the highly qualified speakers from renowned organisations like ENTSO-E, NREL, EPRI, IRENA, IEA, and many more. Furthermore, organisers pay tribute to the workshop’s location Vienna: the Austrian grid integration market will be highlighted in sessions organised in cooperation with Austrian Power Grid (APG) and the Austrian energy regulatory authority E-Control.

The 6th Solar Integration Workshop with a duration of 1.5 days is followed by the 15th Wind Integration Workshop, with a duration of 2.5 days. Beside the regular sessions the workshop week is filled with a list of accompanying events such as tutorials, poster sessions, dinners and a study trip – great opportunities for networking!

Tutorial on PV systems in Smart Grids

In the tutorials, participants have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge regarding crucial renewables topics in an intimate setting. In intense presentations by specially invited experts they gain not only detailed knowledge but also a unique hands-on -experience.

This year’s solar tutorial takes place on Sunday, 13 November 2016 at the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Vienna, Austria. It will be conducted in cooperation with AIT’s Smart Electricity Systems and Technologies Laboratory (SmartEST), and the Department of Energy Technology at Aalborg University, Denmark.

The PV tutorial offers a review of operation and smart grid integration of modern PV power plants. In one of the expert presentations participants are given an overview of the most important PV technologies, currently in use. Tutorial speakers will present the integration of PV into the modern power systems including provision and coordination of ancillary services by PV plants on LV and MV networks. In a hands-on session, several live test cases will be performed on a large photovoltaic inverter.

Tutorial on Ancillary Services from Wind Power Plants

This year’s wind tutorial will take place on Monday, 14 November 2016. High share of renewables in the power system can only be achieved if wind power plants also offer ancillary services, e.g. voltage control, balancing services and frequency control. Within this tutorial the experts on renewable energy present and discuss technical solutions and practical experiences.

Study Trip

With a visit to the Austrian Power Grid (APG) control center, the study trip presents the perfect opportunity for deeper insights and on location impressions. This year’s study trip takes place on Friday, 18 November 2016 and also includes stops at a biogas plant and a wind park in the Energy Park Bruck an der Leitha.

History of the Workshops

The workshops are looking back on a successful 16 year-long history. In spring 2000, the first International Workshop on Feasibility of HVDC Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Farms was organised by then Ph.D. student Thomas Ackermann at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. After three consecutive years in Sweden, the workshop organisation was moved to Energynautics in Germany and it has since taken place in a different city each year. 16 years after its first edition, the Wind Integration Workshop has developed into one of the premier conferences in its field, and has been accompanied by the Solar Integration Workshop since 2011. Having started with only 52 participants from 7 countries, the Wind Integration Workshops nowadays attracts between 250 and 300 participants each year from around 30 countries and the Solar Integration Workshop between 150 and 180 participants from 25 countries.

Further Information on both workshops can be found here:


Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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