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Smarter Grid: Empowering SG Market Actors through Information and Communication Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SmarterEMC2 (Smarter Grid: Empowering SG Market Actors through Information and Communication Technologies)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

SmarterEMC2 implemented ICT tools that support the integration of consumers through Demand Response services and the integration of DG/RES through Virtual Power Plants. The realization of the DR pilots with residential, commercial and industrial customers, provided solid indications that such schemes have an added value for DSOs and other parties such as electricity customers, retailers, aggregators for which international experience also indicates promising results. The key metrics of the pilot indicated that customers actively participated in the DR actions by reducing their load during the events scheduled by the DSO, whilst the impact, particularly for the C&I DR (commercial and industrial) pilot is plausible in terms of both economic efficiency and sustainability. The VPP management solution implemented in the project was used primarily to explore the feasibility of leveraging VPP settings in voltage support services requested by a DSO. The outcome of the executed scenarios showcased the feasibility of voltage control scenarios (i.e. voltage was restored within the safety margins), while for a significant percentage of tests along with the primary objective that was achieved, other secondary objectives, such as reduction of active power losses was also achieved. As far as the market participation case was concerned, the accuracy and general effectiveness of this VPP functionality have produced exceptional behaviour when it comes to achieving the promised flexibility. The project also explored via simulations, whether the existing telecommunication infrastructure is sufficient to support in mass scale the emerging business models and Smart Grid services. The most promising finding on this is that smart data aggregation systems could fully exploit Radio Frequency (RF) bandwidth by opportunistically accessing licensed bandwidth, leading to low-latency and reliable communication links in smart grid communication networks, which can bring many benefits to power system measurement, control and operation, such as phasor measurement, voltage control, and state estimation. Moreover, the simulations showcased that a smart data aggregation system can have very low requirements on the resources of computation and memory.
The first half of the project was devoted to the exploration of the Smart Grids domain, the assessment of needs for ICT tools, the conceptualization of an ICT architecture to address these needs and eventually the specification of the tools to be demonstrated in the project. The second half of the project was mainly focused on the integration and deployment of the implemented tools, on the piloting of these tools, and eventually on the validation of the pilots and the assessment of a series of associated key performance indicators.
The Demand Response pilot in Greece included 75 residential customers. Almost 52 DR events were issued in the course of its 4 months operation with an average of 8% of peak shaving. The Demand Response pilot in Turkey included 432 commercial and industrial customers. Almost 650 events were issued with a total achieved shed of 274 MWh. In Italy, the pilot was focused on improving the performance of the electricity distribution grid. The use of the tools implemented in the project contributed in achieving a reduction of the power outage events by almost 1/16 and a reduction of the power outage duration by almost 1/3 in the area of the pilot.
On a parallel thread, the consortium was fully dedicated in the broad dissemination and communication of the project objectives and results and ended up with more than 24 peer-reviewed papers, several communication activities and a final workshop in the context of the European Utility Week 2017, which attracted a broad audience. Last, but not least, the project members were fully active in the BRIDGE Work Groups and actively contributed in several reports.
The key exploitable results of the project are as follows:
Demand Response Management System: System utilized for the provision of DR Services and the realization of communications with DR resources. It can be operated either by the DSO or a Demand Response Aggregator.
Virtual Power Plant Management Platform: Platform with the ability to integrate various distribution grid resources (DGs, loads, storage). The platform optimizes the operations of these resources according to different objective functions related to market operation or ancillary services.
Energy Hub: Software for the management of the distribution grid. It associates a certain number of flexibility assets operating within the distribution grid boundaries with the objective to optimize local energy flows and minimize the economic and environmental costs.
Smart Grid data analytics platform: Software API that enables secure data storage and visualization.
Algorithms for bad data detection for Smart Grids: Patented techniques capable to detect both stealthy and non-stealthy attacks; to quickly identify which node has been attacked; and to advise how to change system topology to avoid future attack.
SmarterEMC2 delivered innovative tools capable to facilitate the DSOs in better managing their electricity distribution grid, as well as stakeholders such as DR Aggregators and VPP Operators to offer novel services either to the DSOs or directly to energy markets. The tools were implemented in a modular way in order to be expandable and scalable. Moreover, the Software-as-a-Service model was adopted with the aim to decrease the CAPEX of the relevant stakeholders.
Piloting these tools in real life settings revealed interesting findings with regards to their potential impact. For example, piloting DR indicated that an aspect that definitely needs further investigation and proper attention is related to the formulation of proper incentives to the interested customers in order to enroll, as well as to actively participate in DR programs. In the cases we examined, the existing legislation did not allow the DSOs to provide monetary incentives to its customers. This affected both the customers’ recruitment and engagement. It became apparent that incentives are important both for establishing a critical mass of participants, as well as for increasing the impact of each individual through proper remuneration mechanisms.
The project also included extensive simulation activities to explore the feasibility and performance of novel communication techniques associated with Smart Grid services. For example, a novel way of limiting sensing overhead using a cooperative mechanism with an adjustable double threshold (DTH) was developed. Also, a ‘k-nearest neighbor classifier’ approach to independently identify UHF white spaces available for use in Smart Grid communications was proposed. Finally, we demonstrated a data aggregation system that can fully exploit RF bandwidth as well as prioritize various Smart Grid data. With regards to the assessment of the feasibility of telecommunications infrastructure to support novel Smart Grids services one significant identified constraint is the cost of new infrastructure deployments. Efficient and accurate sensor deployment is a critical requirement for the development of the communication network on top of Smart Grid network, but at the time being the cost is something that should be considered. Wireless communications are able provide both flexibility and cost savings in the deployment and maintenance, compared to wireline deployments.
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