Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


FLEXICIENCY Report Summary

Project ID: 646482
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FLEXICIENCY (energy services demonstrations of demand response, FLEXibility and energy effICIENCY based on metering data)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Smarter grids are gaining the ability for electricity producers and consumers to effectively change their electricity usage and the way they can contribute to the system optimization.
The Energy Efficiency Directive of 2012 considered demand response to be an important instrument to take action on consumption and billing information. More recently, in 2015, the European Commission adopted a Communication on delivering a New Deal for Energy Consumers, which highlights the need for greater transparency around energy prices and the necessity of greater energy efficiency and demand response. In fact, a full integration of renewable energy, combined with strong variations in energy needs over time, requires a better balance of supply and demand. To limit the need for energy infrastructures to be built and maintained, and the quantity of back-up generation capacity, consumers can help by lowering overall energy use and increasing demand response. On this regard, the Communication observes how smart metering has more positive effects when accompanied by incentives to change patterns, such as dynamic pricing. It encourages the development of smart homes and networks that require a range of new energy technologies, together with the need to preserve consumer data and reduce the risk of cyber hacking in smart grids. The Energy Union strategy foresees other measures with a strong consumer dimension, such as the reviews of the Energy Efficiency Directive and the legislation on a New Energy Market Design.
Therefore, new technologies and political determination are opening up new perspectives and consumers will assume a completely new role. Accordingly, the market needs to open up and adapt to new production and consumption patterns and to a different role and expectations of the consumer. In such growth of more competitive and smarter scenarios, DSOs will increasingly play a key role by neutrally facilitating and stimulating the development of an open market in smart electricity services. Accessibility of close to real time metering data to any interested player (i.e. retailers but also new and existing service providers) has such potential.
In the FLEXICIENCY project, selected for funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 646482, major DSOs having deployed smart metering infrastructure are working together with market players and other stakeholders on a technical model to concretize a vision for the provision of services based on meter data accessibility. Access to the data in an open way is addressed to foster the deployment of new services not in place or fully exploited in most of the EU countries, overcoming existing barriers. The development of an EU Market Place prototype, together with open interfaces providing access to data to any player, will catalyze the interactions between relevant stakeholders in a standard way and encourage a cross-country and cross-player access to innovative energy services at EU level.

The overall project architecture has been defined to be applicable to different regional and market contexts and four building blocks can be identified:
1. DSO Platforms: interoperable platforms for meter data accessibility in a non-discriminatory way, with customer consent, being enhanced in the project. Advanced capabilities are developed such as metering data provision at a given frequency and data processing and storage, facilitating service provision in the retail market;
2. Service platforms: platforms of different market players operating in diverse regional contexts, interested in having access to data, provided that they are accessible through open APIs and with interfaces compatible with the variety of IT systems in use. Interested players can be e.g. energy retailers and ESCOs using data streams to design new retail business models, aggregators developing loads programmes, or any other companies offering services;
3. Field components: devices for both measurement and control, acting as local interfaces and controllers at customer premises to deliver services;
4. EU Market Place (MP): a virtual ICT environment developed in the project, communicating with both the DSOs and Service platforms. The FLEXICIENCY Market Place prototype will be a pan-European meeting point between stakeholders in the electricity market. Service providers will be able to interact and exchange data and services, with the ultimate purpose to provide services to their customers. DSOs will be able to interact with all service providers and make available metering data and data services to any player at EU level under customer consent. Physical data transfer will be performed point to point, i.e. no physical data transfer or storage will occur through the Market Place. Any player might either offer or provide services, especially players willing to operate in several countries. In the case of market players operating in different areas, the Market Place would act as a gateway for service requests, simplifying B2B relationships between parties. This could be the case of ESCOs willing to provide energy services in countries and/or areas operated by diverse DSOs and thus needing to access DSOs’ metering data.
On the basis of a technical model reflecting a common framework for data exchange at EU level, FLEXICIENCY will demonstrate novel energy services in the electricity retail market, accelerated via the EU Market Place for B2B interactions developed in the project. Four major DSOs (e-distribuzione - Italy, Endesa Distribucion - Spain, ENEDIS - France, and Vattenfall Eldistribution - Sweden) will run a set of four complementary demonstrations with real customers, covering new services. A fifth demonstration will be run by Verbund, as a new comer in the Austrian electricity retail market, where smart metering has not been rolled out yet, thus covering different conditions, and allowing to draw insights on existing barriers towards energy efficiency service provisions.
The key service categories that will be provided in a real customer environment are summarized as follows:
- Advanced energy monitoring, entailing the detailed energy consumptions patterns and production information, collected through smart metering infrastructures with high frequency and possibly close to real time. Metering data will be made available to customers and third parties with customer consent, willing to promote new services to their new or existing customers. Data from smart meters as well as other relevant measurements are in fact essential to massively deploy new functionalities and services beyond single demonstration areas;
- Local energy control, encompassing tools and algorithms for local energy control and modulation, together with value added services to the customers (e.g. optimal management of home appliances either at level of individual or larger group of customers, dynamic pricing schemes). This is a fundamental step preparing for larger exploitation of flexibility services at aggregated and system level, as enabling the active management of electricity loads and generation;
- Flexibility, by a group of aggregated customers, distributed systems of loads and generators, to eventually enable the provision of services to the market and the participation of new actors, such as distributed generation, to the energy market.
Potential benefits include reduced energy consumption and cost savings, greater energy efficiency and environmental benefits based on a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
As customers will be involved at different levels in the demonstrations, the project will properly take into account the relevant privacy and data protection issues in compliance with the applicable laws and consent will be freely given with sufficient information on the requested involvement in the demonstrations.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The activities carried out in the first reporting period (February 2015 – July 2016) mostly focused on the definition of common basis for implementation across the different demonstrators.
The services and use cases that will be validated in the demos were defined. Both the B2C services that will demonstrated with real customers and the B2B services, including the interactions with the EU Market Place, have been detailed under a common architecture framework for data and service exchange at EU level.
The advanced services defined are detailed in Deliverable D2.1 “Definition of services and use cases description”, publicly available on the project website, together with the description of the technical architecture and the system conditions for B2B data exchange at EU scale (Deliverable D2.2 “Definition of project overall system architecture” and D2.3 “Data model and interfaces”). Specifications to integrate the IT platforms of different players and the system conditions for metering data provision among different EU actors were defined in the view of accelerating the deployment of novel services at the pan-EU scale. Data privacy and interoperability among energy players - regulated and unregulated - were also considered, to assure customer protection while opening up the market.
In particular, the B2B interactions granted via the EU Market Place and its functional and non-functional requirements were defined addressing an architecture vision structured in 5 sets of principles: 1. Stakeholders Collaboration (facilitating data provision for energy services deployment), 2. Data privacy and Security (respecting EU and country data privacy policies); 3. Transparency (assuring non-discriminatory access to new market players); 4. Interoperability and Standardization (allowing plug and play of B2B platform connections); 5. Flexible and Modular Solution (letting more flexibility for energy actors to reuse the IT modules and expand them after the project for future exploitation).
Two modular configurations were foreseen for the EU Market Place, with same functionalities and different rules of implementation: (i) a “Regulated” configuration, where only DSO metering data and regulated data accessibility services would be supported; EU/National Regulators would regulate the system and regulated entities would operate it; there would not be any IT competition with other platforms as data delivery services would be granted to any player at EU/National level; (ii) an “Unregulated” configuration, where data from unregulated players and other unregulated services would be made available and the system would be operated - still neutrally - by unregulated entities. In this case IT competition would be possible.
A number of KPIs were defined by the Consortium in order to measure the project achievements on relevant aspects and to constitute the building blocks of further analysis, serving as basis for drawing conclusions and recommendations at later stages. The KPIs take into account the perspectives of different stakeholders and a common path across demos.
A tool for economic assessment (i.e. ERA tool), used in the US to value and optimize demand response projects, was expanded and adjusted in the reporting period to accommodate the European energy market structures. The ERA tool will provide in the later course of the project critical support for measuring the economic potential of the services investigated.
In parallel, the dissemination and communication activities created the basis for a future exploitation of the project results, by establishing a stakeholder community already gathered in Brussels in March 2016. This brings in the view of potential users of the FLEXICIENCY Market Place and the investigated use cases, thus improving its exploitability beyond the project duration.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Main barriers of a full exploitation of new technologies for customer empowerment and demand response are the lack of detailed information on costs and consumption, together with insufficient competition in retail markets with high entry obstacles for new actors.
In fact, for becoming active players in the energy market, customers should have access to accurate and frequent information about their consumption levels, ideally close to real-time, and be enabled to adjust their energy use also in response to price signals. As a matter of fact, information from smart meters in combination with market information can enable customers to take actions for their participation to the electricity system management, while opening up a wide range of advanced services in the energy markets. For this to happen, customers must be provided with higher quality and quantity of information as well as appropriate ICT tools and smart energy services. In particular, when and where smart meters are rolled out, consumers must be in a position to benefit from the possibility of accessing new or enhanced services and be given greater control of their energy use.
Smart technologies and systems are a way to encourage greater consumer involvement and foster demand response, but yet is unclear the timeframe for developing this vision.
Moreover, as from deregulation procedures in Europe, third parties and either new or existing market stakeholders should be able to access data to eventually provide new services and develop new business models in the future. However, data management and protection are sensitive issues, as advanced smarter services inevitably increase data flows and integration of ICT systems, and access to data should be granted only to parties having customer consent, still in a neutral and not-discriminatory way.
Nevertheless, data exchange is still a barrier: there is no unique standard format for the exchange of electricity consumption data and metering data are today primarily made available for settlement by the DSO and the retailer connected to the customer. There is, in fact, a lack of established protocols to access data, which is the main reason why few products and services exist on the market, with risk for a vendor lock-in and higher costs and technical limitations. Additionally, there is no or limited forwarding of data and information to other third parties since there are few infrastructures or platforms available that could cost-effectively facilitate this information exchange. Furthermore, data is available in low resolution and with considerable delays, often up to 30 days.
In the FLEXICIENCY project, the accessibility of metering data made available with higher frequency to any market party with customer consent has such potential to open up the market and burst the provision of new services. The use of advanced DSO and Service platforms, being interfaced in the project via a pan-European Market Place for standardized interaction cross players has such capacity. The results achieved in the first reporting period and above all the use cases and the requirements - defined and reflected in the ongoing developments - address the issues earlier mentioned. In particular, they contribute to the establishment of:
• A single contact point at EU level for market players across diverse countries and control zones to facilitate competition development and remove barriers in retail markets: the EU Market place provides a single point of B2B interaction at EU level, being designed to be neutrally accessible to all players in the market to exchange data and eventually provide services. This would facilitate the development of competition and remove market entry barriers as data and services would become accessible at EU level;
• IT platforms for higher frequency access to data: DSO and Service platforms are enhanced in the project to make metering data accessible to third parties with limited delay and higher resolution, and information exchange facilitated at EU level by means of open interfaces for data exchange;
• Common language for B2B data and service exchange via the EU MP: the EU Market Place would set a common environment for data exchange between stakeholders. The definition of common messages in the project would be a much improved approach to foster data and service exchange in Europe, across different countries and players;
• Authorization mechanisms and data privacy and protection: security and authorization mechanisms were designed in the project. The use of adequate protocols was defined to protect the communication granted via the FLEXICIENCY MP. Access to individual customer’s data is foreseen with customer consent as a pre-requisite and customer privacy protected in the requests of data made via the MP. B2B communication is a direct interaction between parties, where the data provider will check the compliance of customer consent prior to any data transmission, and data transfer performed point to point;
• Facilitation of consumers’ engagement and consumer benefits passing through higher awareness: higher transparency and information on the energy consumption pattern will empower the real customers involved in the demos. The project will test innovative ICT-based services and tools for advanced solutions, pushing forward new energy scenarios.
Insights and technical solutions to burst the implementation of energy efficiency and demand response in EU will come in the course of the project from the demonstrations, recently started. Leveraging on data accessibility and the development of an EU Market Place for B2B interactions at EU scale, the project is expected to contribute at a later stage also to the following impacts:
• Market Transformation: the project will stimulate the creation of new services towards end-consumers paving the way towards active demand. New applications will be enabled by making available metering data in a non-discriminatory way to third parties. Data accessibility would enhance market competiveness and foster the birth of new business models and opportunities, for both new players, such as aggregators, to enter the electricity market, and for existing players, such as retailers and ESCOs, to provide novel services in the market;
• Socio-economics benefits: there would be a positive economic impact in creating new opportunities in the energy market, both for the final customer - which would be empowered with data, evolve his role from passive to more active player, and benefit from the creation of new services - and for market players - which could benefit from a more competitive and open market, exploit new B2B and B2C services by accessing data and build up new business opportunities;
• Environmental benefits: the provision of high quality and quantity of information according to the use cases defined in the reporting period is expected to address higher awareness on energy behaviors. This would eventually result in better energy consumption, turning in the end into carbon emissions and air pollutant savings. Moreover, customers would be assisted towards more energy efficiency, aiming for instance at better distributing consumptions and saving energy. Additionally, as flexibility is a resource for the electricity system, demand side management, enabled in the project, could eventually allow moving energy consumptions to hours when there is a higher production from renewable energy. Environmental benefits would thus be raised;
• Replicability issues: a modular technical architecture was defined in the project and is adopted in the five demos in different regional contexts and under diverse regulatory and market conditions. Moreover, cross cases comparisons of the final demo results will be carried out on the basis of KPIs defined in this reporting period by using a common approach;
• Policy making: the technical framework defined in the project sets clear relationships between DSOs, service providers and consumers to support new market services. To build on existing infrastructures can accelerate market up-take of the proposed solutions and provide with insights on the removal of relevant barriers in Europe. The validation of the different use cases and communication of results will help to accelerate the implementation of new policies and schemes for smart grids. Recommendations on data exchange, barriers and enabling factors for active customer participation would be provided based on project findings at its later stage.
Record Number: 193714 / Last updated on: 2017-01-24
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top