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Interactions between automated energy systems and Flexibilities brought by energy market players

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - InterFlex (Interactions between automated energy systems and Flexibilities brought by energy market players)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The InterFlex project consortium investigated during three years (2017-2019) a wide range of innovations to procure and use flexibilities for the local benefit of the distribution grid. The twenty project partners, including Enedis as the global coordinator and ČEZ Distribuce as the technical director, set up six industry-scale demonstrators in five EU Member States (Czech Republic, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden) in order to gain deep insights into the market and development potential of the investigated innovations.
The project thereby contributed actively to achieve two major goals: foster the cost-effective development of renewable energy resources and decarbonise the historically fossil fuel based heating and transport sectors.

By means of the different demonstrators, InterFlex evaluated innovative technical approaches, business models and contractual frameworks involving the various stakeholders: DSOs and market players, municipalities and the end customers.
The diversity of the European energy systems and particularly of the grid infrastructure translated into 18 project use cases which provided their individual input to the following five innovation streams:

1/ Local Flexibility Markets:
Procurement and activation of flexibilities in response to DSO’s demand through local mechanisms based on open market principles and bids from commercial service providers, the aggregators.

Flexibility mechanisms have been successfully set up, defining the roles of the respective stakeholders. IT tools have been developed by the DSOs, including forecasting engines, market platforms and aggregator interfaces, some of them based on open protocols (USEF, EFI or CIM).
Concerted efforts on the market design of the traded products allowed to define formats to match the DSO’s requests with the aggregator offers, while identifying adequate time frames for the activation process.

2/ Demand Response & Customer Empowerment:
InterFlex experimented a wide range of DR flexibilities, through different activation channels and based on country-specific needs. Different types of customers owned and provided access to exploitable flexibilities. Both individual involvement and Citizen Energy Communities have been evaluated.

In areas with frequent grid constraints the innovations developed in the German InterFlex demonstrator offer scalability and immediate large-scale implementation potential across the national market. The ex-post validation of the flexibility activation has been obtained through dedicated service check routines.
InterFlex’s DR experiments have shown to facilitate the development of Citizen Energy Communities: an end-user platform has been developed to display household energy balances, and a real-time simulated P2P-market where citizens could trade privately produced energy with their neighbourhood.

3/ Smart Functions & Grid Automation:

Besides the active procurement of flexibilities InterFlex aimed at improving the control of both power distribution and generation through digitalisation and automated regulation schemes including reactive and active power flows, to avoid or postpone grid reinforcements and increase the DER hosting capacity.
Grid automation was also an enabling technology for the other InterFlex innovation streams, enhancing for example Local Flexibility Markets, Demand Response, and islanding capabilities.

The French and Swedish demonstrators successfully implemented the automated control of islanded microgrid operation and assets via an islanding master and the control of the islanding switch designed to perform seamless MV islanding.
The Czech InterFlex demonstrator successfully increased the distribution grid’s DER hosting capacity at close to zero equipment or marginal cost, allowing also to establish recommendations for global replication and large-scale implementation, as well as for an integration of the results in the regulatory framework or grid code.
The German demonstrator could deliver the blueprint for the operational integration of grid control delivering efficiency gains in several areas of operation, including reduced curtailments and improved balancing capabilities.

4/ Cross Energy Carrier Synergies: Sector coupling between electricity, heat and gas.
InterFlex investigated sector coupling to relieve distribution grid constraints. Through the interconnection of different energy carriers, InterFlex tapped into the potential of significant unused flexibilities. Gateways between networks were exploited to increase the combined system efficiency and release new flexibilities.

InterFlex successfully implemented innovative equipment and IT-solutions, for a global cost optimisation. In the Swedish demonstrator in Malmö, thermal networks were coupled with the electric system to absorb DER production peaks. Market-ready solutions were elaborated for small-scale district heating sectors, thereby sustaining the decarbonisation of the heating sector.
Hybrid residential and commercial assets fuelled by both electricity and gas were tested in the French demonstrator and have shown good performance. The gas resource provided easily controllable flexibility as an alternative to batteries or curtailment.

5/ Multi-Service Storage & Islanding:
InterFlex investigated the implementation of complementary storage services in the aim of making the battery a competitive system asset. Services covered local grid congestion management, islanding support, self-consumption as well as ancillary services.
Islanding of 100% renewable energy microgrids is a specific sub-section of this business case, since batteries remain the central grid forming and supporting element of an islanded system.

Enedis and ENGIE explored innovative business models including the shared use of common battery assets for both commercial and grid services. This included the successful IoT/Cloud remote control of the storage assets, potential value stacking through multi-service offers, contractual frameworks between regulated and market players, seamless MV islanding for enhanced resilience, enhanced microgrid operation in Island mode thanks to advanced inverter functions, electrical protection management during islanding, sizing methods for an optimized island system design including flexibilities.

Forty-four scientific papers and sixty press releases have been published, and InterFlex was involved and/or organized in total more than 300 events (including conferences, exhibitions, major project events, workshops, etc.).
The InterFlex project impacts are summarized hereunder:
- Optimal use of renewable power generation assets
- Increased share of renewables
- Transport and heating sector decarbonisation
- New offers & activities (aggregation, use of flexibility levers and assets)
- Local balance optimization (micro grids, self-consumption)
- Potential savings for end customers with the same quality of supply
Policy Framework & Replicability:
- Recommendations for micro grid operations
- Regulatory framework for self- consumption and storage solutions
- Recommendations on running planned and unforeseen islanded mode
- Market organization for the optimal activation of local flexibilities