Muscholl explains how the system works in practice. “We provide a market participant portal that allows aggregators to submit their offers on an equal footing. The portal implements standard domain protocols, such as ENTSO-E ERRP, that are well known to the players. The portal also defines gates that structure the business day and define the time windows during which each member has to perform their tasks”.
Grid operators decide by means of market clearing which offers best cover their needs. They reserve these offers and free up those they discard. The aggregators can then use their flexibility as long as the grid constraints are respected. The grid operators determine during the day which of the reserved offers are executed and send an activation message to the respective aggregator.
Typical dashboard for managing multiple microgrids
Nice Grid is due to run until January 2016, but a number of lessons can be drawn already. For Muscholl, perhaps the most important one is that: “focus on energy-centric services and related business and data models is only part of it. The active participation of numerous end-users also required deeper insights into the commercial, societal, legal and regulatory constraints.”
Interview with Rodolphe de Beaufort
Alstom Grid Smart Grid Marketing Director
What were Alstom’s objectives for Nice Grid?
We had three objectives. First, leverage our R&D resources to develop industrial solutions for DSOs, ready to scale, to enable massive photovoltaic integration through automated congestion management as well as centralised network storage at primary substation level. Second, to demonstrate this in a real-world setting and innovative market design involving major DSOs, TSOs, suppliers, aggregators and over 1000 residential, commercial and industrial end-users. Third, demonstrate existing Alstom product performance in a microgrid environment such as wideband power line carrier telecommunications and local grid controllers (MCU and FCU).
What does that mean for the end-users?
Alstom technology is transparent for the end-users as our objective is to make the grid smarter without making the use of electricity more complicated. Commercial, industrial and residential customers have been offered innovative tariff structures or service offerings by EDF. This is one of the interests of the Carros area, which mixes all types of customer in the same grid pocket. These innovative offerings have been accepted by a large number of the local customers using the new Linky meter from ERDF. They now constitute the Nice Grid community, motivated by innovation and sustainability. Globally, these offering allow them to dynamically and transparently adapt local consumption to local generation in Carros when the grid reaches its limits, improving local renewable penetration, network costs and supply resiliency.
What other projects are you involved in?
We have projects all over the world at different stages. For instance, Alstom Grid supplied its Integrated Distribution Management System (iDMS) for a US Department of Energy project in North Carolina. The iDMS can integrate multiple types of distributed resources and monitoring information from several distributed interfaces. In this case, Alstom will help the operator reach its smart grid targets for 2030, including a 40% improvement in system efficiency. In Spain and Ireland, the Green eMotion project uses our intelligent control systems for a DC fast-charging station that can charge three electric cars simultaneously. In Singapore, the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator Singapore (REIDS) initiative will encompass the construction of a microgrid at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) campus to manage and integrate electricity generated from multiple sources including solar, wind, tidal, diesel, as well as energy storage and power-to-gas solutions.
Interview with Remy Garaude-Verdier
GRID4EU Project Coordinator and head of the Smart Grids Unit within the ERDF Technical Department
What’s your impression of the Nice Grid project?
The smart grid community worldwide is asking questions about how to manage smoothly the injection of decentralised and intermittent renewable energy into the distribution grid; how to enable consumers to become active participants in the local energy balance via load shifting; and how to operate a small pocket of the low voltage network in islanding mode during a limited period of time. So we are thrilled to hear about the very positive results from Nice Grid, and to learn that the main objectives of the demonstrator are welcomed by institutions as prestigious as the International Energy Agency or the Institute for Electric Innovation of the Edison Foundation.
Can you give us some results from your customers?
In this context, the results from the first megawatt-scale smart-solar district, which integrates storage systems and deploys centralised demand management, are closely monitored by ERDF and all the partners involved. For active demand, the first results show that “time of use” pricing with “Solar Bonus” allowed around 50 customers to consume an additional 22% of locally generated PV energy (load shifting). The “Smart Water Tanks” increased the share of energy consumption during the high PV production period (12 a.m. to 4 p.m.) from 16.7% to 25.1%, with negligible impact on daily consumption, thus avoiding grid constraints.
What’s the most interesting innovation for you?
In particular, the Network Energy Manager using solar generation and load forecasts tests a new model of interactions between different energy actors: consumer, commercial aggregator and the DSO. It puts together an optimisation programme based on load flexibility bids. The bids, proposed by aggregators, ease the voltage and current constraints resulting from a high level of PV tied into the LV distribution grid. A test is being carried out on a 250 kW island including no rotating machines, which is, to our knowledge, a world first!