Waterloo Sustainable Development Group (WSDG) CEO Tarek AlFarra joined the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) and Canadian German Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s (AHK) round-table discussion with Germany’s WindNODE and Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI) on Smart Energy Systems and their role in enabling the utilization of fluctuating renewable energy sources.
The event, which took place at the AHK offices in Toronto with the participation of various prominent renewable energy professionals, saw discussions on smart energy systems and presentations from Markus Graebig from WindNODE, Heiko Staubitz from GTAI, and Nicolle Risse, from OSEA.
WindNODE is a German consortium with over 70 distinguished partners from industry, business and academia that has been selected and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as one of the landmark R&D projects for future energy systems.
Already, 50% of the WindNODE region’s electricity mix stem from wind, photovoltaics and other renewable sources. However, as with similar consortiums, its key challenge is the integration of large shares of volatile renewable electricity into the energy system while maintaining security of supply and efficient system operation.
Graebig and Staubitz introduced the WindNODE concept and the topic of energy transition in particular, with examples from the German pioneering experience.
Discussions centered on managing the energy transition and who should lead it, what constitutes a smart energy system, integrating low-density areas in a decentralized energy system, and how to ensure acceptance and participation from citizens in the successful transition of the energy system, among other topics.
AlFarra also explored with a number of participants avenues of collaboration in renewable energy transition in developing countries especially in the areas of training and best practice and technology transfer.
“As a proven and committed world leader in renewable energy technology and transition, there is great room for global south countries, and the rest of the world, to learn from the German example. We hope to see increased German involvement in international renewable energy transition and WSDG looks forward to playing a role in this regard”, AlFarra said after meeting with the German participants.
Niagara Region Wind Farm Inauguration
In the Niagara Region, Southern Ontario, AlFarra attended the inauguration of the Niagara Region Wind Farm, which consists of 77 ENERCON E‑101 175 meter high wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 230 MW, enough to power the equivalent of more than 76,000 homes per year throughout its operating life.
The project was signed, built and commissioned within two years through a successful collaboration between international wind turbine design and manufacturer ENERCON, international renewable energy power facility builder and operator BORALEX, Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation and local municipalities and communities.
The project involves over $900 million in invested capital and has created 25 jobs that are scheduled to last for the duration of the 20-year operation period. It is also designed to share revenue with the local community through community development funds.
During the event, AlFarra disucssed with Boralex Inc. Project Manager, Development, Asier Ania, the details of the project and shared WSDG’s efforts to internationally promote, through its growing global network, best practices and proven and promising technologies in renewable energy systems.