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Future tamper-proof Demand rEsponse framework through seLf-configured, self-opTimized and collAborative virtual distributed energy nodes

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DELTA (Future tamper-proof Demand rEsponse framework through seLf-configured, self-opTimized and collAborative virtual distributed energy nodes)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-10-31

Peak load variability due to changes in weather conditions, stands as the main barrier for accelerating a more sustainable future; System Operators are forced to own installed generation capacity much higher than the usual base load needs, due to peak load spikes. Inherently, demand could respond to changes in generation even more rapidly than a traditional generator can increase its supply. Thus, the solution lies in a demand-centric approach; instead of the classical dispatchable generation-meets-inelastic demand, by utilizing modern ICT technologies, demand resolves into a flexible component in the electricity market, through DR programs. Therefore aggregation becomes a key enabler for DR services. Exploiting the demand flexibility of small/medium consumers, a more pro-active approach for the future SG energy transactions emerges. However, strict market and grid-related regulations exclude single customers of this scale to participate in the provision of such services, thus 3rd parties such as Aggregators & Retailers can undertake the role of collecting such multiple DR capacities and ensuring reliability of their delivery. DELTA proposed and developed a holistic DR management platform that distributes parts of the Aggregator’s intelligence into lower layers of a novel architecture, based on VPP principles, in order to establish a more easily manageable & computationally efficient DR solution, aiming to introduce scalability & adaptiveness; DELTA delivered a fully autonomous system that enables end-users to escape the hassle of responding to complex price/incentive-based signals, while facilitating active, aware & engaged prosumers, based on innovative award schemes, active collaboration & enhanced DR visualisation. Provision of full-scale market & grid services have been made possible by delivering explicit/implicit DR elasticity while pushing current market regulatory limitations to be surpassed. Also DELTA implemented novel multi-agent based, self-learning energy matchmaking algorithms to enable aggregation, segmentation & coordination of several diverse supply & demand clusters, designed end-to-end using well-known, open protocols (OpenADR), for increasing interoperability. The DELTA framework handles data security by not only implementing blockchain methods & authentication mechanisms, but using Smart Contracts which further secure & facilitate energy transactions. A Greek test lab, a virtual pilot and two pilots (UK, Cyprus) have been used successfully for the demonstration and validation of the DELTA concept.
DELTA has analysed thoroughly operational and technical constraints, presenting in detail functional and non-functional requirements, real-life operational scenarios and technical use cases, which led also to the refinement of the overall system architecture. This analysis presented also the DELTA business perspectives. Existing DR market-ready and high TRL solutions were identified, along with legal and regulatory barriers that may hinder market deployment. Investing upon these findings, the initial Business Models have been drafted and eventually by the end of the project finalised, including extensive information about business innovation offered. From the technical perspective, the initial version of DELTA Common Information Model that was delivered in the first half of the project, was ultimately finalised and evaluated within the virtual and the two real-life pilots in UK and Cyprus. It is worth mentioning, that given the importance of interoperability, the OpenADR standard was semantically enriched to deliver both an OpenADR and the DELTA ontologies. Communication with the OpenADR Alliance has also been established towards cooperating on this, while the project presented its outcomes to the Alliance regarding semantic interoperability in a dedicated webinar. In other technical aspects, the design and development of the three layers (FEID, DVN, Aggregator) along with a series of horizontal components regarding interoperability and security have been finalised, tested as units, integrated seamlessly into one framework, validated in laboratory environment at the pre-pilot and finally deployed upon the two real-life pilot sites and the virtual pilot. In particular, following a bottom-up approach, the novel fog-enabled intelligent device (FEID) has been assembled and deployed in the test-bed environment, whereas pilot integration has already commenced. Besides hardware, this entails also software implementation following edge-computing principles for unobtrusive load/generation forecast, flexibility estimation, and direct integration with physical assets and building management systems. In parallel, the DELTA Virtual Node (DVN) multi-agent system has been implemented, including the initial necessary functionalities foreseen, such as customer profiling and clustering, aggregated forecasting, energy matchmaking, and optimal dispatch. Accordingly, at Aggregator level, beside the design, the first sub-components were made available. Namely, the DELTA aggregator creates and handles the customer Virtual Nodes consisting of small/medium customers, while also evaluating grid stability. Each DVN is evaluated and its performance is recorded by the profiling and self-balancing components. Security-wise, blockchain technologies (i.e. Fabric) have been deployed, delivering dynamic smart-contracts that evaluate and validate the DR requests. On other horizontal activities, a collaboration platform has been deployed, followed by gamification principles, that also apply for DR requests. Integration of all three DELTA layers has initiated to deliver the overall framework, with a first end-to-end integrated version deployed at the test lab. Initial user interfaces for optimally visualising the promising results for each tool, and empowering all involved stakeholders with the DELTA innovative customer engaging tools have been made available. User engagement from the pilot sites also commenced and delivered some interesting outcomes, either as input to the requirement specification, or for the pilot exploration and planning. Finally, in terms of communication and dissemination, besides a detailed plan and the DELTA brand, partners participated in multiple conferences and workshops, in order to disseminate the project outcomes.
DELTA goes beyond state of the art on multiple fronts, by first of foremost introducing a completely new architecture for incorporating effectively and securely small/medium customers in DR schemes. Within this architecture, there are already significant achievements that offer cutting edge advantage in the relevant markets, such as the DELTA/OpenADR ontology, advanced and highly accurate load/generation forecast algorithms, edge-computing hardware that enables unobtrusive and automated DR at small/medium customers, as well as tailored made cyber/physical security layers that employ among others blockchain technology and smart contracts for dynamic, automated, and self-enforcing DR schemes. These tools, along with the respective front-end representation, are expected to highly facilitate future DR strategies in the EU markets, a fact that is clearly depicted in D2.2 and D2.3.
The expected impact starts with the R&D results, that are easily measured through the scientific publications, that for the examined period already exceed 6 in number, as well as the successful participation in numerous events as invited project.