Lidl builds Finland’s largest power microgrid

Lidl builds Finland’s largest power microgrid

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Lidl’s new distribution centre in Järvenpää, Finland, will cover an area 60,000 m2, the largest in Finland and equivalent to 10 football fields in size, for Southern Finland’s grocery stores. It will start operations at the beginning of 2019.

Schneider Electric’s microgrid includes a cloud-based solution that uses powerful analytics to control and optimize energy resources for sustainable and cost-effective facility performance. Using the EcoStuxure Microgrid Advisor the distribution centre will reach a high level of energy efficiency based on 100% renewable energy from a 1600-panel solar power plant on the building’s roof, enabling solar-generated electricity to be used in the co-generation of heating and cooling. The heat recovered from the distribution centre’s refrigeration equipment and systems will be used for the building’s energy needs and supplied to Järvenpää’s residents, heating water for approximately 500 private homes.

The distribution center’s microgrid will work with a battery energy storage system. The storage will play an important role in equalizing consumption spikes and ensuring continuous power distribution. Should the national power grid become temporarily overburdened, the amount of grid electricity consumed by Lidl’s distribution center can be reduced by putting the battery storage to use.

“During periods of very cold weather, Finland’s grid can experience peak loads,” said Simo Siitonen, Energy Management Manager at Lidl Finland. “The battery energy storage system implemented at Lidl will enable us to react quickly to these consumption spikes, help reduce the load on the grid, and ensure there is sufficient electricity for everyone in Finland.”

The software-as-a-service platform EcoStruxure Microgrid Advisor is designed to simplify the integration of distributed energy resource (DER) and allow facility managers and microgrid operators to collect, forecast and automatically optimize the operation of onsite resources using real-time data and predictive machine learning algorithms.

Teh system will allow Lidl’s energy management teams to monitor and manage the microgrid control system, energy use optimization, power and heat demand response, energy storage, and a solar electricity system as well as a heating and cooling system. For real-time energy optimization, the system will consider utilization rate, price, consumption of electricity, and weather in Finland.

The integrated building management system for the centre uses Schneider’s EcoStruxure Building Operation software based around the Internet of T Hings (IoT). This open building management platform integrates multiple systems for centralised, real-time control and management across one to many enterprise buildings. This installation includes full remote access as well as analytic services to further improve energy efficiency. The remote site operation management service earned international ISO 27001-2013 information security certification, as the first of its kind in Finland.  

“Our goal is to build the Nordic countries’ most environmentally-friendly grocery distribution center,” said Siitonen. “Strict energy technical targets have been set for the building’s entire lifecycle. The building is carbon neutral and the energy cost savings goal is over 50%. The project has been executed according to the standards corresponding to the prestigious BREEAM environmental certification’s Excellent rating level. When choosing a partner, it was important that we chose a partner that can provide an energy-efficient, integrated, comprehensive solution combining several different building and energy management systems for the duration of the building’s entire lifecycle.”

“Lidl Finland’s decision to build a carbon-neutral and at times net-positive building shows determination and foresight to find the best possible integrated solution that not only allows them to operate the facility more efficiently than their existing ones, but also sets an example for how to build and operate in a sustainable way for the good of the environment. This is significant both nationally and internationally,” said Tuomas Qvick, Vice President of EcoBuilding & Field Services Finland at Schneider Electric.

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