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A novel smart grid architecture that facilitates high RES penetration through innovative markets towards efficient interaction between advanced electricity grid management and intelligent stakeholders

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FLEXGRID (A novel smart grid architecture that facilitates high RES penetration through innovative markets towards efficient interaction between advanced electricity grid management and intelligent stakeholders)

Reporting period: 2021-04-01 to 2022-09-30

FLEXGRID project investigated several types of constraints, related to the current electricity networks’ and energy markets’ architecture that prevent large scale DER integration in distribution networks (DNs). It developed advanced Digital Energy Services (DES) relevant to the operation of Distribution Level Flexibility Markets (DLFMs), aiming to the efficient management of DNs and the minimization of DN-level flexibility procurement cost. Another issue tackled in FLEXGRID is the inefficient investment planning and management of DER assets. Towards this end, it evolved existing smart grid architectures, which are not able to provide to DER investors’ information related to the electricity grid topology and the market conditions, by addressing these shortcomings. Under this perspective, FLEXGRID exploits: i) topology and monitoring information from the networks that it manages and ii) data analytics from the market that it operates in order to provide DESs useful for the design of optimal DER investment strategies and optimal DER portfolio management.

Beyond these innovations, FLEXGRID dealt with a major inefficiency in today’s smart grids, which is the lack of interaction between TSOs and DSOs. When using flexibility to cope with a given grid operation challenge, this might have an impact on other grid operation aspects. For example, the activation of DN-level flexibility for system balancing by the TSO might cause a local congestion on the distribution grid. Another example is the activation of DN-level flexibility by a DSO to solve a local congestion problem, which may cause higher re-dispatch costs at the transmission network (TN) level.

Following up the most important, up-to-date and relevant recommendations from EU bodies, FLEXGRID introduces a new energy market entity called Flexibility Market Operator (FMO) that operates a novel Distribution Level Flexibility Market (DLFM). Three main ways that this novel DLFM can be integrated in the existing EU regulatory framework are investigated. As a result, three possible DLFM architectures are proposed, namely: i) Reactive DLFM, ii) Proactive DLFM, and iii) Interactive DLFM. Performance evaluation results quantify the “pros & cons” of each x-DLFM architecture and are compared with the existing EU regulatory framework, in which no DLFM exists. Based on these system-level simulation results, FLEXGRID was able to provide valuable policy-based recommendations to the EC at the end of the project’s lifetime.

To address its objectives, FLEXGRID system consists of four main subsystems (or else S/W components), namely the:
• Automated Trading Platform (ATP), which includes all the FLEXGRID frontend services offered to the: i) FMO user, ii) DSO user, iii) ESP user, and iv) flexibility aggregator user. The design of the core FLEXGRID ATP is based on the design of the NODES market platform, which aims at matching the business interests of both flexibility demand (i.e. FlexDemand) and flexibility supply (i.e.FlexSupply) stakeholders.
• Automated Flexibility Aggregation Toolkit (AFAT), which includes all the FLEXGRID backend services (i.e. advanced mathematical models and algorithms) offered to the flexibility aggregator user in order to: i) optimally manage a FlexRequest published on the ATP, ii) create an optimal FlexOffer and submit it in ATP, iii) manage a novel B2C flexibility market by properly incentivizing end energy prosumers to provide their flexibility.
• FlexSupplier’s Toolkit (FST), which includes all the FLEXGRID backend services (i.e. advanced mathematical models and algorithms) offered to the Energy Service Provide (ESP) user in order to: i) optimally schedule its FlexAssets, ii) optimally invest on new FlexAssets in the future, iii) co-optimize its participation in multiple energy and reserve markets and thus maximize its stacked revenues
• Flexibility Market Clearing Toolkit (FMCT), which includes all the FLEXGRID backend services (i.e. advanced mathematical models and algorithms) offered to the flexibility market operator (FMO) and DSO user in order to: i) run a network-aware market clearing process for three main DLFM products, and ii) create dynamic FlexRequests and submit them on ATP.

The ultimate goal of FLEXGRID project was to integrate all above-mentioned S/W components and respective mathematical models and algorithms in one single web platform, which can provide innovative services to DSOs/ESPs/aggregators and FMOs after the end of the project’s lifetime.
The following major milestones have been achieved throughout the whole project's lifetime:
• Description of FLEXGRID high-level use cases (HLUC), use case scenarios (UCS) and system/end user requirements’ analysis have been delivered in M4.
• FLEXGRID S/W architecture design together with the high-level technical specifications have been delivered in M6.
• Low-level technical specifications for all FLEXGRID subsystems have been defined together with research objectives and challenges to be addressed by FLEXGRID R&I activities (M12).
• Release of the final version of FLEXGRID functionalities via the delivery of D3.2 D4.3 and D5.3 in M26. At this stage, all mathematical models and algorithms have been fine-tuned and extensive simulation results show the outperformance of FLEXGRID proposals compared with the SotA solutions from the international literature.
• Release of the final integrated FLEXGRID system prototype via the delivery of D6.3 in M33. The final versions of all FLEXGRID services have been integrated, while DEMO videos are available in project's youtube channel together with user manuals that are available in project's GitHub area for replicating, reproducing and further testing FLEXGRID research results.
• Final business model and management of innovation assets after the project’s completion via the delivery of D8.3 in M36. A clear exploitation plan is now in place towards bring FLEXGRID results at a higher TRL and closer to the market after the end of project’s lifetime.
• Pilot demonstration testing results of FLEXGRID platform, assessment and roadmap via the delivery of D6.3 D7.2 and D7.3. At the final stage of the project, FLEXGRID solutions have been tested in real-life conditions as well as a large laboratory infrastructure. The project’s recommendations to EC (both policy-based and technical ones) have been delivered, too.
FLEXGRID’s vision is to bridge the today’s gap between reliable grid operation and flexibility market efficiency by developing advanced mathematical models and algorithms that enable a two-way cooperation, namely: i) Market-aware distribution grid operation, and ii) Network-aware flexibility/energy market operation.

FLEXGRID’s value propositions (short-list version) are:
• FLEXGRID allows for more efficient flexibility market operation by providing an improved market clearing process
• FLEXGRID enables DSOs to easily procure flexibility services to support the operation of their network
• FLEXGRID enables DSOs to delay or avoid investment in network reinforcement infrastructure by procuring flexibility services
• FLEXGRID enables FlexSuppliers to increase the profit from selling flexibility on multiple markets (i.e. revenue stacking)
• FLEXGRID enables improved investments in FlexAssets with respect to the size and site of the new FlexAsset investment
• FLEXGRID enables aggregators to maximise social welfare in a portfolio of prosumer FlexAssets

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