Smart grid optimisation tools and business modelling energise Europe’s future
Smart grid optimisation requires dynamic integration of the roles and actions of all stakeholders, including generators, distributors and consumers. Distribution system operators (DSOs) are in a unique position, physically and practically, to manage smart grids but require sophisticated tools and technologies. EU funding of the inteGRIDy project and its consortium of 31 partners supported the development and piloting of holistic solutions to address the technical and business challenges faced by DSOs.
A digital treasure chest
InteGRIDy aimed to optimise the operation of the medium/low voltage distribution grid. Its cross-functional modular platform by the same name includes a plethora of digital tools developed and/or upgraded within the project and the requisite management and security overlays and architecture to integrate them all. “Distribution optimisation is achieved with techniques and technologies for planning, scheduling and operation, supported by three additional pillars: demand response (including end users actively in real-time demand and supply matching); energy storage (novel collaborative storage technologies with increasing penetration of renewable energy sources); and smart integration of transport users’ needs (exploiting the flexibility for electric vehicle charge/discharge),” explains Javier Valiño, Head of the Energy, Climate and Decarbonisation Unit at Atos Research & Innovation and inteGRIDy project coordinator. The inteGRIDy solution space incorporating all tools verified full tool interoperability and seamless communication among the modules. The four pillars, in combinations or individually, were demonstrated and validated at 10 pilot sites across Europe with different climates and market maturities. The sites included municipal and public buildings, homes, a rural community and a sports centre (including a swimming pool). Among the outcomes were significant reductions in energy consumption, retailer’s cost of energy, and operating costs. All 10 pilot sites are currently operating inteGRIDy solutions with clear benefits.
Beginning with the end in mind
“The inteGRIDy business model replication tool is an online tool to help partners and the broader professional community prototype business models for innovative energy solutions, check market suitability across EU countries and develop a business plan,” explains Valiño. It also calculates payback times and cash flow and was implemented at all pilot sites. The tool is freely available for third party use, supported by an online webinar, and was featured as part of the BRIDGE Scalability and Replicability task force.
Tailor-made solutions for maximum impact
For a project as big as inteGRIDy, dealing with the pandemic during the final results phase, it was challenging to achieve the original goals. Not only were the objectives achieved, but the solution space and the business modelling and replicability tool were provided as additional results. Valiño concludes: “The inteGRIDy cross modular functional platform offers a wide range of tools serving different purposes that can be used alone or in combination. The business modelling and replicability tool supports successful exploitation of these tools, defining the need, identifying suitable project technologies, and then identifying the markets or countries with regulation or market readiness to ensure success.” The 10 pilots have proved the benefits. The inteGRIDy solution is just what we need for a secure, digitalised and greener energy future.
inteGRIDy, smart grid, DSO, distribution system operator, demand response, energy storage, renewable energy