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Integrated Modular Energy Systems and Local Flexibility Trading for Neural Energy Islands

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MERLON (Integrated Modular Energy Systems and Local Flexibility Trading for Neural Energy Islands)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2022-04-30

The decarbonisation strategy of the energy system imposes the effective integration of large shares of renewable energy sources in the electrical grid. The intermittency and variability of distributed renewable energy requires restructuring of the energy paradigm and emergence of innovative smart management of demand-supply equilibrium. Combining diverse technologies and flexibility resources under a common optimisation platform established on local level, can reveal large amounts of energy flexibility and utilise local resources for tackling local instabilities and imbalances. This problem is addressed through MERLON project, which develops a flexibility optimisation platform covering:
•Integration of multiple DERs and optimal combination of local generation, demand, storage, EVs and interconnections with heterogeneous local networks
•Open, end-to-end interoperability
•Scalability and provision of grid services on local and global level in a Microgrid-as-a-Service model
•Establishment of local and transparent flexibility markets empowering local stakeholders
•Enabling a human-centric framework as a basis for local flexibility optimisation
MERLON envisions placing prosumers and local stakeholders at the core of energy transition. Democratised energy flexibility markets within local systems can ensure the required openness and transparency for making flexibility trading a viable and attractive business case for prosumers and small-scale flexibility asset owners. Through the establishment of local aggregators, the overall ILES flexibility can cover the entry requirements of balancing markets that refer to minimum capacity and energy volumes.
MERLON project’s overall objectives are safeguarding of local energy system reliability and transition to a decarbonised energy future through integrated flexibility optimisation and control strategies, digitisation of local energy communities, establishment of local flexibility markets, open standards-based interoperability, high replication potential. Additionally, the project aims to promote the MERLON solution as a next-generation ILES optimisation framework through dissemination and knowledge transfer of its outcomes towards the targeted stakeholders and international audiences.
In the duration of MERLON:
•The work regarding ethics management methodology and POPD rules within the project was completed
•MERLON's Management framework, innovation strategy and data handling were defined and updated throughout the project, along with the collaboration strategy for BRIDGE and on international level.
•In WP3, all activities setting the MERLON foundation were successfully completed including: use cases and requirements elicitation, analysis of socio-economic and regulatory obstacles towards the establishment of local energy communities at MERLON's pilot countries, performance, and measurement and verification methodology definition. Additionally, the pilot sites were defined through: (i) pilot surveys mapping all available resources on site, (ii) identification of required infrastructure and deployment plan definition, (iii) baseline definition. Last but not least, the MERLON framework architecture was defined.
•MERLON interoperability and data management framework was delivered, including an analysis of interoperability standards, along with MERLON CIM, and demonstrators of the MERLON data management platform, and MERLON Security Access Control framework.
•A complete work on simulation models and future energy scenarios was presented, along with an ILES reliability evaluation tool and the integrated “optimal planning and sizing” module, and an analysis on the optimal sizing of the BESS and ILES for the two MERLON pilots.
•The full suite of tools for flexibility extraction, aggregation, and control automation was delivered. Specifically, a flexibility resource analysis was completed, and tools were developed for: flexibility profiling and forecasting of prosumers and EVs, smart aggregation and clustering, virtual thermal energy storage modelling, and global flexibility management.
•MERLON's Integrated Local Energy System (ILES) was delivered including components for the network operation forecasting, operation optimization and emergency islanding through accurate flexibility scheduling, BESS management, user interfaces for the DSO & aggregator and prosumers, and a Market Place app.
•During RP2, the MERLON integrated solution was tested before being deployed at the two pilot sites. The necessary equipment including BESS and IoT equipment was deployed at both pilots. The demonstration activities evaluated MERLON solution based on the performance evaluation framework and validation scenarios defined. The results were reported along with the socio-techno-economical aspects of the solution.
•Dissemination/communication/recruitment activities were conducted in all project duration, along with living lab activities at the pilot sites and knowledge transfer activities within the frame of BRIDGE initiative. Based on the project experience a series of recommendations were formulated, on policy and market reform and standardization.
•Business models for ILES flexibility markets and network operation were defined and assessed, the MERLON system, and individual component exploitation strategy was defined, and market scanning was continuously conducted. By the end of the project a Business innovation plan was defined along with a Scaling-up & Replication roadmap.
The integrated MERLON solution was tested and validated under real life conditions at the two pilots in Austria and Spain following the validation framework and validation scenarios defined during the RP2 of the project. The validation scenarios addressed network operation, including imbalance management and emergency islanding scenarios, participation in ancillary services and wholesale markets and implementation of a flexibility marketplace for different actors. Additional activities for the socio-economic evaluation of the MERLON solution impact were conducted including a CBA analysis and end-user feedback collection through questionnaires. The major impact points of these activities are:
•Optimisation of RES usage due to the implementation of the MERLON solution with curtailment avoidance of more than 50 MWh during the validation period, and energy self consumption reaching up to 60% in Austria, and exceeding 90% at high generation hours in Spain.
•User perceived thermal comfort up to 95% was achieved through the operation in a thermal comfort mode
•Highly positive environmental impact through the reduction due to the reduction of CO2 emissions by around 30 tones for the two pilot sites
•Energy cost savings reaching up to 23.3% due to the MERLON solution implementation.
•Flexibility potential due to the human-centric, MERLON VTES solutions reaching up to 15% of the total energy consumption for prosumer groups with only DHW loads and around 20% for prosumer groups with combined HVAC and DHW loads.
•High end user acceptance of the MERLON solution, exceeding 85%, based on feedback received through questionnaires.
•Financial viability of the full blown deployment of the MERLON system including BESS for energy communities with 2,000 prosumers or more, despite the high initial investment.
•High stakeholder participation at the living lab activities organised locally at the MERLON pilots, with up to 128 participants in total, also including local authorities.
MERLON Overview
MERLON Framework Concept