Europe’s sustainability goals present an ambitious scenario for the energy sector. By 2030, the European Union aims to achieve a 32% penetration of renewable energies, while the Green Deal sets its sights on a fully carbon-neutral circular economy by 2050. This energy transition places electricity grids at the forefront, tasked with accommodating an array of renewable generation sources.
Traditionally designed for one-way power distribution from large, predictable fossil fuel-based plants, European (and global) distribution grids are now evolving into bidirectional, distributed networks. They must manage an increasing influx of renewable energy, often connected via electronic converters. This shift also brings the challenge of accommodating electric vehicle charging and active demand-side participation, including self-consumption facilities.
Distribution System Operators are rising to these challenges, recognizing the opportunities inherent in this new landscape. They’re embracing the Smart Grid concept, marked by advanced monitoring, enhanced metering, and automation, to ensure efficient and flexible grid management. This blog delves into the intricacies of this energy revolution and the vital role of Smart Grids in shaping the future of electricity distribution.
In response to these current and future challenges, the objective of the FLEXIGRID project has been to improve the operation of the distribution network by making it more flexible, reliable and cost-effective by developing effective flexibility solutions:
Distribution network automation and control and Enhancement of low-voltage grid observability
The Center for Future Transformation assist operators in monitoring, automating, and controlling the distribution network. Coupled with Smart Meters, this approach enhances low-voltage grid planning and operation. It centers on improving service through innovative technologies and high-quality control systems.
The development of a new generation of Smart Meters enables precise monitoring and effective electricity consumption control. It also empowers immediate response to energy demands when required.
Network security in scenarios with high renewable generation penetration
In this era of high renewable energy penetration, ensuring electrical operations are secure and efficient is crucial. This involves precise protection mechanisms and avoiding unwanted trips, deploying automation for efficient protection system operation.
Distributed computing strategies
The innovative Energy Box intelligently manages the electrical grid on multiple levels, working closely with distribution system operators and renewable energy producers. It stands out for its real-time data utilization, enabling end consumers to make informed decisions and impact their energy consumption in real time. The Energy Box offers high-level services and remote monitoring, processing data locally to enhance service quality, safety, and efficiency. It’s highly adaptable to various situations and utilizes standard protocols for high interoperability.
Improvement of supply continuity
Electrical management planning aims to integrate more renewable energy while safeguarding network security and resilience. In this context, the software module for network forecasting and operation emerges as a vital tool. It accurately predicts energy generation, demand, and electricity prices, benefiting renewable energy manufacturers (RES), industrial and commercial customers, optimizing network operation, and contributing to emission reduction for a more sustainable future.
Demand and generation prediction
To ensure network speed and reliability, a Software module for fault location and self-healing has been created that minimizes network faults and ensures a stable power supply. This system, using a combination of hardware and software, rapidly detects and locates issues in the medium-voltage electrical network in milliseconds, responding instantly to reduce disruptions and maintain a reliable power supply.
Reduction of congestion in the distribution network
In managing network congestion, the Congestion Management Software Module stands out as a versatile solution. It expands portfolios, optimizes virtual power plants, reduces operating costs, enhances infrastructure intelligence, and unlocks green energy opportunities. It minimizes energy costs, maximizes network flexibility benefits, promotes renewable energy adoption, and efficient use of renewable resources.
Residential thermal demand control
The development of thermal energy virtual management software is noteworthy for its cost savings and financial benefits through dynamic tariff setting and demand response actions. It introduces cost savings, facilitates financial gains, and promotes energy efficiency.
Integrate diverse ecosystems and stimulate novel approaches to handle energy
Acting as central point for the data integration, management and visualization, FUSE platform interacts with other mentioned solutions to integrate the devices at the edge (e.g. EnergyBox) by fully exploiting data available from local and distributed energy resources to build added value services for DSOs & energy stakeholders.
As Data Spaces are the evolution of the of the Digital Energy Platforms that are aimed to move to an open, federated and data sharing Ecosystems, FUSE platform works as a keystone asset for Data Spaces. Using open standards/APIs, FUSE is a solution that has been developed to help conducting the integration of different energy ecosystems and companies, maintain the control for the data sharing and be a source of added value thanks to advanced services leveraged by IA.