Developing next generation virtual power plant
Our European research and innovation project edgeFLEX aims at further developing the concept of Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) to manage a wider range of generation and storage assets in a new way. By offering a set of fast and dynamic service-to-grid operations, the emergence of a new market for ancillary services will be enabled. The ten project partners propose a new architecture of VPPs with communications, supported by 5G, corresponding to multiple layers of dynamics, paving the way for a fully renewable energy system. With the expansion of the VPP concept to the idea of local energy communities, technical solutions are linked to societal expectations.
How 5G can better support power operators
With the dramatic growth of renewables, now is the time to revise the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) concept and this is the challenge edgeFLEX addresses. VPPs need to support not only the promotion of intermittent Renewable Energy Sources (RES) but also the integration of all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) into the full scope of grid operations. Such a leap is enabled by the new edgeFLEX architecture for VPPs in which communications, supported by 5G, correspond to multiple layers of dynamics, pave the way for a fully renewable energy system.
We are happy that we are currently planning a demonstration for an edgeFLEX stand at the EuCNC and 6G Summit conference in Grenoble in June! EuCNC will be our first edgeFLEX stand at a conference as the project started in April 2020 during the Covid-19 lock-downs. Despite everyone working from home and no face-to-face meetings being possible, the relationships between the project partners developed very well based on our many virtual meetings. We lightened up the isolated environment of the project partners with chocolates and tea packages sent directly to the homes of all project participants based in many different European countries!
On the stand at EuCNC, we plan to demonstrate results of our work in the project, such as those of our 5G latency tests. By runing laboratory tests in live 5G networks in Aachen, Germany, we investigated how 5G can support the edgeFLEX services. Additionally, we had the opportunity to try out the brand-new testbed for the new 5G feature Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) which will provide even lower latency and higher reliability than currently available 5G versions.
Exposing 5G capabilities to vertical sector applications is a hot topic at the moment, and we in Ericsson were lucky to be able to investigate this topic for the power network domain and define the benefits and use cases for the exposed capabilities. In edgeFLEX, we are showing newly developed 5G enhancements providing VPP operators with the possibility to work together with Distribution System Operators (DSOs) enabling better monitoring and control and faster stabilisation of the power grid. The secure and reliable data exchange between the assets of VPP operators and the services of DSOs can be enabled by exposing 5G capabilities through new exposure capability interfaces. These interfaces can help VPPs and DSO’s to integrate 5G more easily and quickly in their existing infrastructure reducing their monitoring, control, and trading challenges. Thus, 5G will not only be able to support the existing needs of the power operators, additionally it will also enable new business cases in the coming years for the sector actors in the power domain!
Felix Maier, Tuana Ensezgin, Robert Farac, Fiona Williams
edgeFLEX contributes to 3GPP standard
The use case for the edgePMU, the innovative implementation concept developed in edgeFLEX project, was included in the 3GPP standard. The new concept will be implemented and tested in DSO power grid network and in the laboratory with the use of a live 5G network. 3GPP technical report 22.867, which describes the edgePMU and the related edge monitoring functionality use case, is available on the following link: https://www.3gpp.org/DynaReport/22867.htm"
3GPP is a global initiative developing specifications for wireless communications. It brings together seven of the world’s leading wireless standards organizations.
Advancing the energy transition with flexibilities – the path of Wunsiedel
Towards a new era of energy flexibility
With the increased share of renewable energy in the energy mix, causing the energy market to change, now is the time to revise the VPP concept. VPPs need to support not only the promotion of intermittent renewables (RES) but also the integration of all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) into the full scope of grid operations. Such a leap raises challenges: optimal combination of DER and RES in a new generation of VPPs is needed to jointly provide grid supportive flexibility with slow reaction time known from day-head and intra-day markets, as well as real-time reaction to provide fast frequency and inertial response and dynamic-phasor driven voltage control ancillary services. In a nutshell, in a DER-based power electronics-driven network VPPs need to play all the roles that synchronous machines play in a traditional system.
Flexibility can be provided by going beyond electrochemical storage and exploring opportunities offered by Power2X or inverters. Demand Side Management or low-cost solutions such as Power-to-Heat could be deployed in a neighbourhood expanding the concept of VPPs to the concept of a Local Energy Communities (LECs). edgeFLEX links technical solutions to societal expectations. Short reaction times can be addressed by 5G-powered edge clouds linking dispersed devices in near real-time. In this respect, a new concept of VPPs, with communications corresponding to multiple layers of dynamics, becomes possible. edgeFLEX proposes a new architecture for VPPs deploying such a multi-layer solution, paving the way for a fully renewable energy system. VPPs are brought to a new level, enabling them to interact on markets offering various ancillary services to system operators. edgeFLEX develops this next generation VPP concept and demonstrates it in the context of three field trials and accompanying laboratory tests. The project explores innovative optimisations, financial tools and business scenarios for VPPs and assesses the economic and societal impact. The consortium actively works on removing barriers by contributing to standards and European level regulation.
Ericsson is one of the leading providers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to service providers. Ericsson enables the full value of connectivity by creating game-changing technology and services that are easy to use, adopt, and scale, making our customers successful in a fully connected world.
ALPIQ DIGITAL AG
Alpiq Digital is in the business of enabling the transition to the renewable energy landscape of the future. The focus of Alpiq Digital is on delivering services and solutions for managing and deploying RES assets, both from an operational and financial point of view. We target the entire value chain, from consumers to producers with complex prosumers which are our main focus.
B.A.U.M CONSULT GMBH
B.A.U.M. Consult GmbH supports enterprises, municipalities, regions and governmental institutions throughout Germany and abroad with consultancy and training on sustainable development. As a knowledge management company, B.A.U.M. understands its role as a link between research, development, production and marketing of sustainable products and services.
CENTRUL ROMAN AL ENERGETIKA
The Romanian Energy Centre (CRE) is a non-governmental organisation representing state-owned as well as private companies and enterprises operating in the Romanian energy sector. The main objective of the Romanian Energy Centre is to ensure a favourable environment for boosting competitiveness and developing the Romanian energy sector.
INEA INFORMATIZACIJA ENERGETIKA AVTOMATIZACIJA D.O.O.
Inea is the leading company in Slovenia in the field of energy management solutions, industrial automation, process computer control and manufacturing informatics. Inea develops, installs and supports industrial energy management and control systems. Its major interests lie in the areas of efficient energy use, CHP implementation and development and implementation of energy monitoring and targeting systems.
RHEINISCH-WESTFAELISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE AACHEN
As one of the Universities in Germany awarded the status of "Excellence University", RWTH Aachen is a leading technical university in Germany and Europe. RWTH joins the project with the E.ON Energy Research Centre, Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems (ACS) which fosters innovative energy research with a strong link with industry in an interdisciplinary approach.
SWW WUNSIEDEL GMBH
SWW Wunsiedel GmbH is a modern, innovative and future-oriented municipal utility company. SWW is responsible for electricity, gas, water, heating and telecommunication supply. SWW and its subordinated service companies have been focussing on the consistent production, use and expansion of renewable energy and sustainable technologies for years.
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE DUBLIN, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND
UCD is Ireland’s largest teaching and research institution and its leading international university. Underpinned by its strategy for internationalisation, UCD is putting in place high-end research collaborations and partnerships and is the leader in Energy Research in Ireland. At UCD, researchers are working to find solutions to the energy and environment challenges of the 21st century.
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA
Almost 1000 years old, the University of Bologna (UNIBO) is known as the oldest University of the western world. Nowadays, UNIBO remains one of the most important institutions of higher education across Europe and the second largest university in Italy with 11 Schools, 33 Departments and about 87.000 students; it is organised in a multi-campus structure with 5 operating sites (Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini), and, since 1998, also a permanent headquarter in Buenos Aires.
WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
WIT is the major provider of higher education in the South East region of Ireland and one of the largest Institutes of Technology's in Ireland. WIT hosts the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), which is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation.