Meet Net Zero Heroes,
Carsten and Jesper

Bringing even more renewables onto the grid

If we’re going to make net zero a reality and truly tackle climate change, the next ten years are going to be critical. A more flexible and local energy system will be essential - and we’ll need to solve some major challenges, including how we bring more renewables online.

Our energy trading team in Aalborg are at the forefront of developing new trading technologies and artificial intelligence algorithms to help the transition to a lower carbon energy market. They’re playing a critical role in buying and selling renewable energy, as well as predicting the output of renewable assets, like windfarms and solar parks. This means they can estimate how much power will be provided to the grid to balance the supply and demand of energy.

Carsten during a climate inspection in Greenland.

Carsten during a climate inspection in Greenland.

Carsten Damberg is the Meteorological Forecasting Manager in our Aalborg team.

He has the challenging job of analysing weather models so that he can predict how much renewable energy will be produced in the short and longer term – and also consider how weather is impacting people’s energy needs.

This fluctuating – or intermittent – energy supply is one of the key challenges facing the use of renewable energy. While significant progress has been made in generating renewable energy, particularly in wind-rich countries like Denmark, Germany and the UK, integrating it into the grid is still difficult – and sometimes, even results in a surplus that can’t be used.

“You can’t control renewables like a conventional plant, where you have the possibility to adjust the supply for the demand. With solar or wind, you have constant power fluctuations with ongoing weather changes. So, the challenges are; Does weather behave as forecasted and do we have enough or too much power to our previous expectations?

For example, a thunderstorm passing a large offshore wind farm could transiently generate as much power as a minor nuclear power unit. As the general lifetime for a thunderstorm is 20-30 minutes, the energy output from the windfarm will be highly volatile and challenging to forecast.”

Perhaps surprisingly, having too much power is one of the challenges that Carsten and his team face. It’s why increasing grid flexibility is so important to the future of the energy market – as is continuing to develop potential storage technologies for renewable energy: "With very high wind power production over a larger geographical area and having low consumption – let’s say at night, the grids can be overloaded. Since power storage technology isn’t quite there yet, grid flexibility to flow power and consumer behaviour is crucial."

Alongside these developments, Carsten also sees a role for artificial intelligence in the work that he’s doing. With more data points now available, technology could help improve the accuracy of his forecasting: “We’re managing more and more renewable assets as time goes on, and to do this efficiently, we need to constant improve our forecast methods. Technology and focused analysis will help us get there.”

“ It’s not just about building new renewable plants. We need to make sure the grid can absorb the power output. As consumers we need to change our consumption from conventional supply to renewable energy.”

- Carsten Damberg, Meteorological Forecasting Manager

Jesper Düring Lausen is the Head of Origination for Renewables and Consumption in Northern Europe and Germany.

His job is focused on buying and selling renewable power – and with the renewable market growing, his role has never been more interesting.

Jesper during a visit to a windfarm.

Jesper during a visit to a windfarm.

“We’re seeing more and more investors looking into green energy, especially when you compare to other forms of generation like nuclear, coal or gas. Renewables are here to stay.”

Like Carsten, Jesper is also dealing with the challenges of a fluctuating power supply. In his case, he’s also factoring in rapid changes to the price of power. This is particularly true when a lot of power is produced very quickly. He needs to match investor desire for a secured return with the longer-term perspective of an investment in renewable assets.

These dual challenges – working with investors and helping energy become greener – have been key motivators for Jesper in his work and, as renewable energy becomes cheaper than traditional forms, he’s excited about the vision for the sector: “We’re taking the ‘normal’ producers – big coal, big gas – out of the equation. They produce the same amount of energy all the time, but we’re trying to replace them with renewables. This is happening in Denmark today – where you see almost 50% of power production coming from renewables over a year. That is the future.”

Find out more about our energy trading team – and how they’re developing AI algorithms to help bring more renewables online.