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Prosumer Flexibility Services for Smart Grid Management

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Flex4Grid (Prosumer Flexibility Services for Smart Grid Management)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-03-31

The advent of distributed power sources, such as photovoltaics and windmill plants, gave rise to energy prosumers, which generate and consume electrical energy. Energy demand and energy generation by prosumers is volatile and can impact the grid infrastructure and stakeholders, but they can be flexibly adapted to thwart those impacts.

Flex4Grid created an open data and service framework that enables a novel concept of managing flexibility of prosumer demand and generation, utilising cloud computing for power grid management and, opening DSO infrastructure for aggregator services. The system is built up from existing ICT components that have been developed by the consortium partners over many years in research projects on IoT and Cloud computing. This high maturity allowed Flex4Grid to reach a system prototype of TRL 7.

The Flex4Grid system includes a) a data cloud service with anonymised interface and advanced security and privacy mechanisms for data exchange and service management, b) prosumer generation and demand flexibility, and c) a more viable business model to accelerate the deployment. The major innovations are a) opening the market for new entrants by secure and privacy enabling third party cloud data and energy management services, b) actionable common and multilevel data management and analytics services for Smart Grids, and c) the use of co-creation to bring end users into the value creation process.

System validation has been carried out in real-world pilots in three live electricity networks with different scenarios ranging from deployment during smart meter rollout and retrofitting to large scale operation and federated demonstration of multi-site pilots.
The project developed the second iteration of system components and integrated them into the final system prototype. The system comprises of the main components cloud-based data management and analytics, communication and gateway, and end-user interface. Data security and privacy is ensured by an certificate based protection of the communication and pseudonymized data processing and storage. The system relies on the internet connection of the participating households for the flexibility management.

The following final results were achieved:
1) The Flex4Grid system prototype was developed and demonstrated in operational environment, thus reaching the planned TRL 7.
2) Piloting in real-world environment with end-users was realised: 1,232 households participated in Flex4Grid pilots at the four sites Celje (Slovenia), Bonn and Bocholt (Germany), and Oulu (Finland).
3) The economic feasibility of our approach was confirmed with flexibility management experiments in the pilots: a) Reduction of peak loads: 10% per user (average 80-100W sustainable for the event) => 3% (with 40% of the pilots population), b) Estimated average revenue per user (ARPU) for aggregator service providers: up yo 37€ / customer / year, c) Reduction of electricity bill of prosumers: 4%

The project was very active in disseminating the project results through online channels with webpage and social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), produced 14 press releases, attended / (co-)organized 30 events and published 19 peer-reviewed research articles.

The exploitation activities were boosted with an exploitation workshop with an external expert from SSERR. The main outcome of the workshop were a detailed list of Flex4Grid Key Exploitable Results that are mainly used by the industrial partners to enhance their business. Some examples are listed below:
- Time series data analytics model & service
- DMS Interface
- End-user interface for Android and iOS
- Services for smart meter users
- Load prediction service
Also a part of the consortium has entered a business relationship to continue providing the Flex4Grid service to one project partner after the end of the project. Components developed in the Flex4Grid project will be used to manage load peaks in the grid. The involved partners use a combination of ecosystem based business model and the virtual breeding ground.
The system introduced by the Flex4Grid activity used results from preceding research projects as baseline to transfer the results into the market and followed a business-driven approach by exploring new value-generating service offerings for customers. As a result the project has contributed to the state-of-the-art in several ways:
1) Smart energy management systems: The integrated Flex4Grid system has been produced. This system provides the following combination of key features, which makes it distinctively innovative compared to state-of-art: a) Integrated end-to-end solution for active control of energy system by DSO through managing prosumer flexibility, b) Extending the visibility and control into prosumers’ homes (appliances), i.e. utilization of existing smart grid infrastructure for flexibility services, and c) New experimental evidence on flexibility management (dynamic tariffs) events in the residential sector collected from large scale pilots in real-world environments.
2) Open interoperable middleware for secure smart grid systems: Flex4Grid middleware for prosumer premises in secure smart grid systems used to collect / transfer data from / to different types of prosumers with the following features: a) To be usable on cheap commodity hardware to be able to deploy it economically efficiently by a big number of home prosumers, b) To be easily personalized, deployed and maintained also in big number of local gateway nodes, c) Extendable also for prosumers with big amount of data points, and d) Covering a high heterogeneity of devices by different types of prosumers.
3) Security and privacy: Holistically addressed security and privacy in the system design and implementation, addressing not only the system operation but end user enrolment and privacy data flow as well. Dynamic identity management system allowing generation of identities on the fly under end user control. Trust and key management supports extended stakeholders view and allows for further federation of the systems. Secure and privacy aware cloud storage for smart grid data with advanced access control bridging the gaps between cloud and IoT ecosystems.
4) Data management: Advancing from high-level models to an innovative cloud-based data management and analytics service, which a) in a unified manner collects, aggregates, manages, and analyses relevant energy data from different sources and at various levels (appliance, Smart Meter, and substation level), b) security and privacy from the start, c) manages prosumer as a single entity, i.e. addresses its consumption and generation as a “single package”, d) features a semi-automated load balancing service based on dynamic energy pricing, and e) is applicable in the field.

Active demand response has been demonstrated in the life electricity networks of all three pilot locations. New business models have been deployed where DSOs, prosumers and the third party hosting the data manager acted as marketer. Participating companies rolled out new services to the market place to prove business viability of the project. The Flex4Grid system opened new markets for third parties via cloud-based services, going beyond smart meters. Applying cloud solutions (security, privacy, analytics, predictions for the customer) in the context of smart grids strengthened the competitiveness in this sector.