GIFT H2020 project concluded after 4 and a half years

In January 2019, the Horizon 2020 funded project GIFT had its kickoff event in Harstad, Norway. The project demonstrated ambitious goals and numerous opportunities it aimed to achieve. GIFT H2020 involved  17 partners and a team of skilled professionals who actively participated in research and innovation over the 56-month duration of the project.

The primary objective was to decarbonize the energy mix on islands, as many of them relied on power grids that lacked sufficient capacity or access to renewable energy sources. The project focused on establishing synergies between various energy consumption sources such as electricity, heating, and cooling.

Throughout the project, partners like Sylfen and Elestor developed and tested battery technology, while INEA and other collaborators worked on demand/response and energy flexibility management. Various use cases and scenarios were demonstrated, including integration with digital twins, analytics, PCB, and electronics, among others.

Hafenstrom brought our expertise in shoreside power and electric ferries to find ways to optimize and reduce strain on weak power grids in islands and regions. However, the approach had to be adapted during the course of the project. One of the main reasons was the we realized that electric ferries could only contribute to grid flexibility while charging. An electric ferry is not connected to the grid during crossing and docking – and hence does not have any impact on the power consumption. Even when connected to the grid, there is not much flexibility to offer, as there is a limited layover time for charging, except during midday and nighttime.

Some further discussion on this topic can be found here: and here:

This meant flexibility had to be handled in a somewhat different way. To address this challenge, Hafenstrom proposed a two-fold solution.

  1. Firstly, we suggested looking at the entire ecosystem as a whole, including the fleet, ports, and chargers, rather than treating each ferry and harbour as separate entities. This approach allowed them to distribute the load to grids with available capacity, utilizing onboard batteries to manage crossings based on capacity, price, and available chargers.
  2. Secondly, we proposed using onshore batteries to mitigate grid challenges in islands with weak power infrastructure. By slowly charging the batteries using conventional AC/DC and fast-charging the ferries with DC/DC while docked, they avoided grid spikes that could affect other critical operations on the island.

After four and a half years, the project successfully demonstrated the potential for decarbonizing the energy mix through the establishment of a European energy effect market. Hafenstrom played a significant role in this process, developing the Harbour Energy Flexibility Monitoring Service (H-EFMS), which evolved into a virtual management system supporting fleet management, port and quay management, charging points, and price zones based on timetables or trigger points activated by status changes.

Though the GIFT project has officially concluded with the last meeting and deliverables submitted and accepted, there is still an observability period of up to one year. For further information about the project, visit