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Prosumer Flexibility Services for Smart Grid Management

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Flex4Grid (Prosumer Flexibility Services for Smart Grid Management)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

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 aims at creating 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 will be 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 allows Flex4Grid to aim for a system prototype of TRL 7.

The Flex4Grid system will include 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 will be 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.
In the first period the project developed the first iteration of system components and integrated them into the initial 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. We expect to achieve also feedback on the suitability of shared infrastructure in this scenario.

The system has been successfully tested in early pre-trials and refined according to the findings of the tests. The partner DSOs have already invited pilot users among their customers through company magazines and other advertising channels (such as exhibitions) that are ready to participate in the first pilot. Results are expected in autumn 2016.

Initial business scenarios were identified and will be further investigated during the pilots. The empowerment of the consumers that can provide their demand flexibility as a service to DSOs, retailers or third party actors is a key aspect in those scenarios.

Challenges have been encountered from the needed high level of security introduced by additional data protection requirements and the enhanced robustness required for the pilots that involve end-users. More time was reserved for the implementation of the system to reduce the risk of losing pilot end-users because of too low quality of service.
The system introduced by the Flex4Grid activity will use results from preceding research projects as baseline to transfer the results into the market and follows a business-driven approach by exploring new value-generating service offerings for customers.

Active demand response will be demonstrated in the life electricity networks of all three pilot locations. New business models will be deployed where DSOs, prosumers and the third party hosting the data manager will act as marketer. Participating companies will roll out new services to the market place to ensure business viability of the project.

The Flex4Grid system will open 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 will strengthen the competitiveness in this sector.