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News 25.04.2018

Finnish LEMENE smart energy system – a unique implementation in the world

Smart Finnish energy system will create a self-sufficient business district and offers a model for decarbonising Europe’s energy markets.

The development of the pioneering LEMENE smart energy system has started in the Marjamäki Business Area near the city of Tampere in Finland. Scheduled for completion in 2019, the project will deliver the largest energy self-sufficient business district using renewable energy in Finland.

Local energy company Lempäälän Energia has signed an agreement with Siemens for supplying the intelligent medium voltage network, network automation system and electrical storage for the industrial district that hosts about 300 companies. The smart grid system will be powered by a 4MW solar power plant with about 15,000 solar panels, an 8MW biogas engine and a battery to deliver a secure and reliable power supply.

According to Lempäälän Energia, two fuel cell co-generation systems will be built by Convion and integrated into the smart grid. At the heart of the combined heat and power (CHP) systems with a total electrical output of 116kW are the next generation of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stacks supplied by leading fuel cell manufacturer Elcogen.

"This is a unique implementation in the world on such a large scale," says Jussi Mäntynen, Division Director of Siemens AG Energy Division, in a statement.

Smart, reliable and responsive grid

According to Toni Laakso, CEO of Lempäälän Energia, the energy self-sufficient grid will mainly operate as part of the public electrical grid, but it can also operate as a supporting reserve system, or as an independent off-grid, on demand.

"The LEMENE smart grid will feature a variety of smart technologies that will respond to changing electrical demand, enabled by automation solutions adapted to the micro-grid. An important part of the project is to secure energy availability as renewable energy production varies," says Laakso in a statement.

New business and research opportunities

Businesses in the industrial area can join the decentralized energy system and actively participate in the electricity market.

"There will be a lot of new business space and opportunities in the vicinity of the LEMENE project that can be easily linked to the smart network, which also makes Marjamäki an interesting location for international companies," says Pirkko Eteläaho, Project Manager, Circular Economy & Renewing Industry at Business Tampere, the regional economic development agency.

LEMENE also offers an excellent R&D environment for businesses and learning institutions. The project already participates in the research projects Social Energy – Prosumer Centric Energy Ecosystem (PROCEM), Finnish Solar Revolution, and Heila, which are led by Finnish universities. LEMENE serves as an exceptional opportunity to explore how a larger scale smart grid functions in the current electricity market.

There are more than 30,000 companies within a 30-minute drive of the Marjamäki Business Area and 3.5 million consumers within a radius of 200km. As one of Finland's key projects focusing on future energy solutions and decarbonisation, LEMENE has been granted an investment aid by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.