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FLEXMETER Report Summary

Project ID: 646568
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FLEXMETER (Flexible smart metering for multiple energy vectors with active prosumers)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The introduction of the electricity market, the widespread diffusion of distributed generation from renewable and non-programmable energy sources and the need for storage are quickly changing the problems that Transmission and Distribution system operators have to face in their activity and are requiring a smarter grid. This smarter grid should also enable new services to increase people awareness of consumption and production to optimize energy usage. A first step in this direction is the development and installation a flexible smart meter architecture to enable an easy development of innovative services for both the prosumers and the DSOS and be able to manage meters for multiple energy vectors. Up to now the smart meters that in some countries are being installed at the users are nearly only devoted to billing improvements. The new metering systems must go much further to provide their contribution to various objectives such as end-user affordability of electricity, more detailed and rich information about energy consumption and production, energy and market efficiency improvement, CO2 emissions and pollutants reduction. In the FLEXMETER project a flexible, multi-utility, multi-service metering architecture is designed and deployed in two demonstrators. The main component of the architecture is a software platform for meter data collection/actuation and a set of data analytics, storage and visualization components. The architecture is ready to manage data from next generation meters providing more accurate sampling as well as MV/LV substation meters. Both type of meters will communicate with the FLEXMETER architecture, where the “smartness” of the system resides. The software platform communicates using IoT (Internet of Things) paradigms and resides on a central cloud system. The proposed architecture allows for innovative services for the prosumers (e.g. analysis of the energy consumption), for the Distribution System Operators (DSOs) (e.g. fault detection, network balancing and storage integration) and for the retail market. FLEXMETER paves the way for new business models and companies providing such innovative services to end-users and DSOs. Also demand-side management devices could be plugged into the system. In the FLEXMETER project two pilot applications in two different countries (Italy and Sweden), on real systems, with the involvement of the local DSOs and volunteer prosumers will be demonstrated. The results on the demonstrators will then be scaled up to the size of the cities in order to evaluate the advantages on a real scale. To this purpose, FLEXMETER develops a real-time co-simulation framework able to simulate the smart grid and the whole software infrastructure processing simulated energy data.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The results achieved in the first period can be summarized in the following points:
• The consortium defined a number of services and the associated use cases for DSO and prosumers at the beginning of the project that have been refined in the first period. We identified a number of users for these services, including not only DSOs and prosumers, but also Retailers and new companies acting as Energy Aggregators.
• The consortium purchased available meters to fulfill the implementation of innovative services from the market, but also pursued the design of new meters with enhanced features in terms of communication and power supply. This activity allows FLEXMETER to develop services based on hardware features that will be likely available in the near future. Water and thermal meters are also included in the FLEXMETER system. No gas meters were used.
• MV/LV substation meters installation is ongoing. Tri-phase meters have been already installed in one substation meter in Hyllie. A tri-phase meter prototype based on the extension of single-phase meter design has been developed by ST.
• The central cloud system has been developed and contains preliminary metering data, both historical and real-time. The FLEXMETER software architecture designed by TI and POLITO consists of a IoT platform running on top of a cloud service provided by SIVECO.
• Data collection protocol has been implemented using IoT concepts. MQTT and REST paradigms have been adopted to interface FLEXMETER system with real-time data from IoT enabled devices or from utility databases. In this way, FLEXMETER is ready to access both IoT devices directly or data repositories owned by utilities.
• Analysis tools targeted to the prosumer and DSO are under completion. Functional tests are in progress and will be completed as data from meter installation will became available.
• We are developing a multi-layer real-time simulator that is able interoperate with the FLEXMETER platform. This allows to create scenarios for testing services that cannot be tested in the real network, such as the one related to fault location and storage. Currently two real-time simulators in RWTH and POLITO are working together and they are remotely synchronized. The interface to the software layer has been developed, so that software components can be executed on top of the simulated network to test FLEXMETER services.
• Smart meters for deployment have been selected and deployment is ongoing. Preliminary data are already coming from meters in both pilots to the FLEXMETER cloud
• A consistent number of scientific publications have been achieved exploiting project results in the first period. Various dissemination activities have been pursued by universities and companies to present FLEXMETER in international contexts.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

1. Progresses

The research performed in FLEXMETER progresses with respect to the State of Art in the following fields:
• Smart meters: Unobtrusive and self-powered meters with support for accurate (1Hz) sampling suitable to enable Non-Intrusive Load Monitoring (NILM) have been developed.
• Innovative algorithms for grid and load management: i) Fault detection and location algorithms exploiting substation and prosumer-side meters; ii) Storage planning and management algorithms, allowing to optimize the location and dynamically manage the charge-discharge cycles; iii) Load forecasting based on a machine learning approach; iv) NIALM algorithm with fast recognition of loads without requiring a-priori knowledge of energy profiles.
• IoT platform: While the concept of IoT platform is well known and many implementations can be found, in FLEXMETER a software platform able to interface with various smart meter devices and with existing utility repositories is being developed. At present, no such platform with the same flexibility and interoperability characteristics can be found.
• Real-time co-simulation: A real-time grid distributed simulator that is able to interoperate in different physical locations and supports the co-simulation of the software infrastructure for metering data collection and processing. This innovative simulator enables the evaluation of grid management services at a large scale.
The progresses are witnessed by the considerable number of papers published in these fields.

2. Impact

Considering the impact of the service developed in FLEXMETER, although some of the features are already offered by the utilities companies (online available user profiles, online consumption data, suggestions for consumption optimization, basic predictions for future consumption) the automatic data acquisition and processing in the front-end part is missing (smart meters, gateways). Also, the data presented currently to the user is not real-time (but monthly data). Therefore the impact will be important both on the provider and consumer side, in particular by reducing costs for the utility company for reading the data, real-time services to the user, fault detection and network load balancing being the most important.

The development of a “second generation electric energy smart meters” interconnected to other public utility services, thanks to a common data-exchange platform, will foster the spreading of innovative services both at consumer and DSO level. Open, real-time data systems will play a fundamental role in the future of smart grid. The multi-service approach should also allow to reduce costs of the whole system.

Social impacts will be strictly related to real-time data availability even at consumer level. The knowledge of each own consumptions (electrical but also others, like water, LPG for heating and cooking,..) is the starting point for other more integrated and innovative services (house remote control systems) that will change people behaviours (active demand). ICT based services and tools must be simple, intuitive and always available (apps for smartphones or tablets) in order to reach users of all kinds (young, old, skilled and educated or not).

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