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Unified DR interoperability framework enabling market participation of active energy consumers

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DRIMPAC (Unified DR interoperability framework enabling market participation of active energy consumers)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

With the transition of Europe’s energy system to cleaner but intermittent in nature renewable sources, the need for demand-side flexibility is becoming increasingly important. The active participation of energy consumers in the energy markets is moving into the foreground as a means to improve services for consumers, while helping to drive competition, integrate more variable renewable energy sources, enable the cost-effective uptake of electric vehicles and allow for a nimble operation of the power system. Despite the elimination of several regulatory barriers, demand response (DR) programs have not yet had the desired impact on the energy system, mainly because residential and tertiary buildings, responsible for 44% of final energy consumption in Europe, remain disengaged from DR activities. Their demand flexibility can prove to be an invaluable resource for the energy system, but as of today several roadblocks still hamper their direct, active participation in energy markets:
1) Technology-related roadblocks: massive and cost-effective roll-out of DR programs require communication of DR signals, which remains a significant barrier. The extreme fragmentation of protocols, data models and standards that govern building management systems and building-grid communications as well as the immaturity of the market leaves little room for the market players to converge to interoperable solutions due to increased complexity and cost. As a result, it becomes impossible to support enticing business propositions for commercial parties despite the obvious benefits of DR at the energy system level.
2) Consumer-related roadblocks: both price and incentive-based DR programs can be intrusive for consumers and carry either the risk of increased energy bills or potentially major inconveniences correspondingly. Energy consumers and especially home dwellers are risk averse, largely unaware of the potential benefits and cannot bear the hassle of managing their energy consumption profile based on incoming, irregular DR signals. In order for consumers to take ownership of the energy transition they need easy-to-understand information about DR programs; competitive services and dynamic tariff schemes; as well as automation to offload daily management hindrances to another entity acting on their behalf and faithfully representing their interests, lifestyle choices and personal preferences.
DRIMPAC primary objective is to provide a universal technological framework for end-to-end communication of the necessary information for the discovery and delivery of demand flexibility as well as to enhance building management intelligence in order to coordinate energy demand for the mutual benefit of the consumer and the energy system, while preserving comfortable and healthy living conditions. DRIMPAC will develop a standards-based interoperability platform with support for legacy protocols that will homogenize the communication requirements between buildings and the energy system in order to reduce the extreme fragmentation of interfaces currently in place.
DRIMPAC solution will include a human-centric, DR-enabled intelligent energy management system for residential and tertiary buildings that will automatically respond to DR requests, optimally making use of the building infrastructure and capabilities in order to bring the maximum benefits to consumers.
Furthermore, DRIMPAC will lay the necessary groundwork in preparation for the energy system transition by proposing, demonstrating and validating in real-life settings an innovative service offering for energy providers and accompanying business models, while proposing amendments and enhancements to standardization bodies.
In the first period of the project, work has focused mainly on five areas:
- The definition of relevant actors and the engagement of end-users.
- The regulatory and technical auditing of the flexibility assets that will be used during the validation and evaluation pilot activities.
- Outlines for DR business models to be tested in the pilot sites.
- The research and development towards the technical implementation of the interoperability platform that will connect the flexibility assets with the market actors (Aggregators/Retailers and DSOs) for implicit and explicit DR scenarios transforming residential and tertiary buildings into active participants of the future energy markets.
- The design and development of the demand flexibility extractor based on end-users comfort profiles and the smart building automation system for DR.
As a result, of the above activities more than 60 stakeholders covering the whole range of system actors form the project’s stakeholder ecosystem, and more than 500 consumers have been approached to gauge their interest in keeping up-to-date with project developments and participating as end-users during the project pilot activities. The relevant engagement material has been designed and produced in the languages of the countries that will host the pilot activities, including leaflets, posters, newsletters and engagement material custom-tailored to the characteristics of the targeted audience.
On the technical front work in relation to the interoperability platform is near completion. The platform features an implementation of USEF for standardized communication between the DSOs and Aggregators for flexibility trading. On the edge part of the system, a custom building gateway (Smart Box) that supports communication over common wireless protocols (WiFi, Z-Wave) has been developed for the interoperable connection of several off-the-shelf IoT devices responsible for sensing indoor conditions and controlling building appliances such as HVAC systems and lights. These gateways communicate with cloud-based infrastructure, where software components will perform comfort-preserving flexibility calculations based on pseudoanonymized collected data and manage DR signals. Regarding district-level DERs an OpenADR-IEC61850 interoperability gateway has been developed for the connection of DER management systems that feature IEC61850 management systems to DRIMPAC flexibility platform.
Towards providing the interoperability platform that will allow the end-to-end communication of explicit and implicit DR signals, DRIMPAC integrates OpenADR with a wide variety of IoT protocols for the plug-and-play connection of energy flexibility resources, which will tap into the huge potential of tertiary and residential buildings. On the services level, the unobtrusive, human-centric extraction of flexibility and the option to exploit it without the frequent intervention of the prosumer, promise higher levels of adoption by the public.
The above will have significant impact on energy efficiency and cost for the prosumers. Specifically, the project aims to achieve 30% cost savings in pilot sites, peak load reduction during DRIMPAC interventions of 50%, energy consumption savings of 25% while sustaining visual and comfort levels and attaining high user acceptance. Such ambitious goals if replicated in a large scale across Europe could lead to 18TWh reduction of intermittent RES curtailment, €125B avoided grid reinforcement investments by 2030, 100 million tones of green house gas emissions reduction and the creation of thousands on new jobs for the installation, configuration, operation, maintenance, of the system and within the industry of manufacturing sensors, actuators, meters and smart energy devices.
The DRIMPAC solution in a nutshell
Sensing, monitoring and actuating equipment in a residence