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ACtive Communities & Energy Prosumers for the energy Transition

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ACCEPT (ACtive Communities & Energy Prosumers for the energy Transition)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2021-12-31

Problem: Further renewables integration on the electricity supply side and electrification of heat and transport on the demand side are no-regret options for the achievement of the climate change mitigation targets of the EC. However, they both introduce major challenges for the electricity network (imbalances between demand and supply, increased peak demand, etc.). To overcome these, network operators need to either upgrade their network infrastructure, increasing network charges and hence electricity bills for the end-customer, or turn to solutions such as ancillary services and demand response schemes. For the latter, the challenge is on engaging successfully prosumers in demand-response schemes, requiring them to adapt their energy consumption patterns to network needs.
Importance to society: Demand-response schemes could help alleviate electricity network constraints caused by peak demand and the connection of variable RES on the grid in a cost-efficient way (minimising socialised infrastructure costs) and in less time (network upgrades are time-consuming), facilitating the energy transition at the lowest possible cost for the end-customers.
Objectives: The ACCEPT project aims to untap the demand flexibility potential from energy communities and their members by actively involving them in demand response schemes. To achieve this, the project will develop and deliver a digital toolbox, through co-creation activities with end-users, which will be used by the energy communities and prosumers to achieve the project objectives. These objectives include i) the development of innovative digital services for energy communities, complementing their existing non-digital services to customers, and ii) the access to revenue streams that will support the longevity and the well-functioning of the community itself. The critical success factor of the ACCEPT solution will be to deliver a minimum viable product that has passed preliminary market and financial testing.
In the first reporting period (M1-M12) the ACCEPT partners carried out a series of activities which:
• Defined the ethical, legal and security framework under which the project will run.
• Defined the ACCEPT framework requirements, including user requirements (users being the energy communities and their members); the technical use cases and business scenarios to be tested and proven within the project have been described and they are currently being elaborated upon in the context of the detailed system architecture.
• Designed the ACCEPT system architecture and a preliminary mapping of its key components to certain SGAM layers was completed; the main components of the system have been defined in terms of functional specifications and data (input/output) and interface requirements.
• Defined the methodology for validating the outputs of the project and assessing the performance of the developed ACCEPT solution, i.e. the Performance Measurement and Verification methodology.
• Designed a set of preliminary business models for the delivery of value-adding compound services to energy communities and their members.
• Delivered the ACCEPT consumer and energy community engagement methodology, considering possible governance and socio-political contexts and dynamics among relevant stakeholders that could hinder the success of engagement activities.
• Delivered the preliminary design version and data model of the project’s Building Information Management Layer.
• Helped identify existing infrastructure at the premises of candidate project participants/prosumers and the energy communities (district assets), and assess the use-case-implementation-readiness of those premises; a two-step ex-ante survey approach was followed for achieving this, the second step of which is to be completed in the first two months of the second reporting period.
• Defined the project’s dissemination and communication plan and created a strong project identity; the project’s website and branded informative material were created and made publicly available.
• Created strong synergies among other H2020 projects (BRIDGE and non-BRIDGE ones) for increasing project visibility, exploring possible collaboration routes and maximising project impact.
ACCEPT’s advances beyond the state-of-the-art are expected across the project’s key focus areas, namely the consumer engagement, business modelling and the creation of a digital toolbox for energy communities allowing them to participate in value-adding demand response schemes. Specifically:
• ACCEPT will develop and implement a participatory citizen engagement programme, with the aim of co-creating the project’s technical solutions to satisfy customer and energy community needs and requirements and validating the project’s developments and business models. Through this programme, the project will also provide insights into consumer acceptability of demand response schemes. Finally, the project will develop a multidisciplinary model that acknowledges the effects governance, organisational frameworks, and socio-economic/socio-cultural factors (including gender) have on individual/community participation and the wider social acceptability of the renewable energy infrastructure.
• In order to understand the underlying causes that shape the consumer energy consumption and consider them for forecasting future consumption trends at different network nodes, the ACCEPT project will go beyond mere consumption forecasts based on historical consumption data. The project will develop a Consumer Digital Twin, which encapsulates all necessary technical and behavioural information for analysing how and why energy is consumed within a building and in energy communities. It comprises of three models, the Citizen Digital Twin, which captures the daily activities and consumption patterns and behaviours of a building’s occupant, the Building Digital Twin, which captures all information related to the building and its existing energy infrastructure, and the Dynamic SRI-based performance rating of buildings, which assesses the smart readiness of the building.
• The ACCEPT Consumer Digital Twin will allow a market actor to understand, anticipate and forecast energy/flexibility behaviour at the grid connection point. This will enable innovative business models, such as Heating/Amenity-as-a-Service, or conventional supply/aggregation models via the delivery of human-centric services at acceptable price points for any energy vector and building asset at hand.
• Finally, ACCEPT will provide the means (models, techniques and control algorithms) to deliver a valuable flexibility lever for prosumers, considering their comfort preferences, through the implementation of an adaptive, prosumer-centric and context-aware virtual thermal energy storage module.

Based on the above, the expected impacts of the project refer to i) the increased use of demand response schemes across a larger number and variety of consumers in Europe, ii) demonstrated and improved viability, reliability and acceptability of innovative compound services, increasing the uptake of such services by consumers, iii) increased data protection and privacy for customers, iv) improved accuracy of project models on flexibility and consumption and behaviour patterns, and v) increase available flexibility for accommodating more RES on the network.
The ACCEPT project consortium