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Sim4Blocks Report Summary

Project ID: 695965
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Sim4Blocks (Simulation Supported Real Time Energy Management in Building Blocks)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2017-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The growing share of variable renewable energy necessitates flexibility in the electricity system, which flexible energy generation, demand side participation and energy storage systems can provide. Sim4Blocks will develop innovative demand response (DR) services for smaller residential and commercial customers, implement and test these services in three pilot sites and transfer successful DR models to customers of project partners in further European countries.
The pilot sites are blocks of highly energy efficient buildings with a diverse range of renewable and cogeneration supply systems and requisite ICT infrastructure that allows direct testing of DR strategies.
Sim4Blocks’ main objectives are
- to specify the technical characteristics of the demand flexibility that will enable dynamic DR;
- to study the optimal use of the DR capability in the context of market tariffs and RES supply fluctuations;
- and to develop and implement market access and business models for DR models offered by blocks of buildings with a focus on shifting power to heat applications and optimization of the available energy vectors in buildings.
Actions toward achieving these objectives include:
- quantifying the reliability of bundled flexibility of smaller buildings via pilot site monitoring schemes;
- combining innovative automated modelling and optimization services with big data analytics to deliver the best real time DR actions, including motivational user interfaces and activation programs;
- and developing new DR services that take into account the role of pricing, cost effectiveness, data policies, regulations, and market barriers to attain the critical mass needed to effectively access electricity markets.
Sim4Blocks’ approach supports the Work Program by maximizing the contribution of buildings and occupants and combining decentralized energy management technology at the blocks of building scale to enable DR, thereby illustrating the benefits achievable (e.g. efficiency, user engagement, cost).

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 Sim4blocks project is progressing well while achieving the requested results. Sim4Blocks is an all-encompassing study of demand response in blocks of buildings and within its first 18 months, work has been carried out by the consortium on a wide range of facets of the complex task of integrating demand response into the energy system at this local level. This includes broadly: physical infrastructure at the three pilot sites, results and research progress in building (and system) modelling and optimization, prototyping of user interfaces and testing of usability, as well as assessments of flexibility market access and modelling.
Having begun with a phase of in-depth analysis and assessment of the pilot sites in which the demand response systems are being integrated, the site-specific business and users’ use cases were specified and the required functionalities from different perspectives (e.g. building owners, grid operator, aggregator, home automation and BMS developers) were defined. Additional work has been done to further determine and specify the hardware solutions required at each site for ensuring that optimal control and validation of implemented systems.
Physical infrastructure at the pilot sites, in particular metering, monitoring and control systems, has been planned and installed by the local pilot site coordinators and is in the final stages of system preparation for active experiments. Prototype mobile device interfaces for the user interface design, custom-tailored to the Sim4Blocks pilot site use cases, were specified, based on the opportunities and constraints at each of the sites.
With respect to the physical modelling of buildings and energy systems, work has focussed on the analysis of urban data to allow for building categorisation, the analysis of building occupancy data to infer consumer behaviour, the prediction of thermal and associated electrical loads and the dynamic estimation of demand and flexibility profiles at the consolidated district/urban scale.
Regarding business models and market access for demand response: the business opportunities for DR from blocks of buildings were studied, including the definition of international market participation conditions, and the assessment of the motivation and potential for various national market access models. Alongside this, the role of aggregators in the market was studied and development began on a workflow for effectively consolidating demand response resources into bids on the energy market.

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)

The ambition of SIM4BLOCKS is to create new DR business models in the residential sector focusing on the activation of the large heating and cooling sector with heat pumps and other power to heat technologies. Sim4Blocks' global ambition goal is to demonstrate that DR measures can be successfully implemented in building blocks to provide monetary saving to different end users, as well as significant operational advantages to multiple stakeholders within the energy industry. This ambitious goal will be achieved by developing flexible, effective DR strategies, thereby providing a demand response platform to emerging energy service companies. SIM4BLOCKS will enable significant opening of the DR market to energy companies, such as aggregators, network operators and utility generators by making effective DR systems available for implementation in blocks of buildings. SIM4BLOCKS will also ensure that end users, as prosumers, will benefit from reduced energy costs, without compromising building operational and user comfort expectations.

SIM4BLOCKS aims to demonstrate that the introduction of demand response measures in building blocks can deliver significant benefits for a wide variety of participants, including society as a whole. These benefits will positively impact all stakeholders in the energy arena: from electricity generation and distribution operators, to energy suppliers and markets, and ultimately to all end-users including individual consumers. By optimising demand response potential in building blocks through the use of smart algorithms aimed at leveraging active and passive storage, combined with full integration of renewable energy systems, these measures will enable taking demand response measures while maintaining maximum user comfort. Moreover, SIM4BLOCKS seeks to optimise and maximise the value of already widely available energy conversion and storage resources inherent in all building blocks, which can mitigate the need for capital intensive investments or other socially intrusive technical measures. SIM4BLOCKS will be able to demonstrate the effect and quantify the benefits of demand response measures in building blocks from a number of dimension, among them building and facility managers, residential and commercial users (consumers), societal issues, energy markets, business models and aggregators.

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