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Simulation Supported Real Time Energy Management in Building Blocks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Sim4Blocks (Simulation Supported Real Time Energy Management in Building Blocks)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-03-31

The growing share of variable renewable energy necessitates flexibility in the electricity system, which flexible energy generation, demand side participation and energy storage systems can provide. Sim4Blocks seeks to develop innovative demand response (DR) services for smaller residential and commercial customers, to implement and test these services in three pilot sites and to transfer successful DR models to customers of project partners in further European countries.
The pilot sites are blocks of highly energy efficient buildings with a range of renewable and cogeneration supply systems and ICT infrastructure that allows direct testing of DR strategies.
Sim4Blocks’ main objectives are
- to specify the technical characteristics of the demand flexibility that will enable dynamic DR;
- to study the optimal use of the DR capability in the context of market tariffs and RES supply fluctuations;
- and to develop and implement market access and business models for DR models offered by blocks of buildings with a focus on shifting power to heat applications and optimization of the available energy vectors in buildings.
Actions toward achieving these objectives include:
- quantifying the reliability of bundled flexibility of smaller buildings via pilot site monitoring schemes;
- combining innovative automated modelling and optimization services with big data analytics to deliver the best real time DR actions, including motivational user interfaces and activation programs;
- and developing new DR services that take into account the role of pricing, cost effectiveness, data policies, regulations, and market barriers to attain the critical mass needed to effectively access electricity markets.
Sim4Blocks’ approach supports the Work Program by maximizing the contribution of buildings and occupants and combining decentralized energy management technology at the blocks of building scale to enable DR, thereby illustrating the benefits achievable (e.g. efficiency, user engagement, cost).
A wide range of objectives are set to be achieved by the Sim4blocks project work. As an all-encompassing study of demand response in blocks of buildings, Sim4Blocks combines desk-work with practical hardware implementation. During the project’s 2nd reporting period, significant focus was placed on implementation and testing of systems at the three pilot sites. In addition to the physical infrastructure, the project also furthered studies in the areas of building (and system) modelling and optimization, prototyping of user interfaces and testing of usability, as well as assessments of flexibility market access and modelling.

In this reporting period, work focused on specifying and finishing the hardware solutions required at each site.
Implementations at the pilot sites were influenced by various factors which had to be accounted for and adapted to during the last implementation phases. These factors included regulatory hindrances and technical issues with certain suppliers. In all such cases, the local teams and the consortium as a whole adapted to the local context, while remaining true to achieving the main objectives. Thus control and communication for the automated systems in the pilot sites have been installed and tested. Interfaces for incentivized DR and information sharing with participating households have been deployed for use.
With respect to the physical modelling of buildings and energy systems, dissemination of the work from the previous reporting period has intensified with dissemination in peer-reviewed journals and invited talks.
Regarding business models and market access for demand response, progress on both practical application of flexibility information to increasing the effectiveness of the clustermanager-aggregator model studied in Sim4Blocks has been made, also as invited presentations. The expected cost-savings estimates for consumers up to 10% were confirmed by the teams studying the pilot sites’ use cases and systems (although policy barriers to small DR remain). Importantly, live tests with the aggregator partner RESTORE allowed for demonstrating the appropriate integration of small DR assets into a productive flexibility portfolio.
The ambition of SIM4BLOCKS is to create new DR business models in the residential sector focusing on the activation of heat pumps and other power to heat technologies. Sim4Blocks' global ambition goal is to demonstrate that DR measures can be successfully implemented in building blocks to provide monetary saving to different end users, as well as significant operational advantages to multiple stakeholders within the energy industry. This ambitious goal will be achieved by developing flexible, effective DR strategies, thereby providing a basis set of DR tools and experiences on which emerging energy service companies can build. SIM4BLOCKS will enable significant opening of the DR market to energy sector companies by making effective DR systems available for implementation in blocks of buildings. SIM4BLOCKS will also enable end users, as prosumers, to benefit from reduced energy costs, without compromising building operational and user comfort expectations.

SIM4BLOCKS aims to demonstrate that the introduction of DR measures in building blocks can deliver varied (depending on the local context) and significant benefits for a wide variety of participants, including society as a whole. These benefits will positively impact all stakeholders in the energy arena: from electricity generation and distribution operators, to energy suppliers and markets, and ultimately to all end-users including individual consumers. By optimising demand response potential in building blocks through the use of smart algorithms aimed at leveraging active and passive storage, combined with full integration of renewable energy systems, these measures will enable taking demand response measures while maintaining maximum user comfort. Moreover, SIM4BLOCKS seeks to optimise and maximise the value of already widely available energy conversion and storage resources inherent in all building blocks, which can mitigate the need for capital intensive investments or other socially intrusive technical measures. SIM4BLOCKS will be able to demonstrate the effect and quantify the benefits of demand response measures in building blocks from a number of dimensions, among them building and facility managers, residential and commercial users (consumers), societal issues, energy markets, business models and aggregators.
Diagram showing how demand response contributes to the balancing of the grid