Project FutureFlow is now completed, bringing forth exciting results: it was demonstrated that renewable energy is helping society to walk a more sustainable way of life.
The aggregation of renewables proves to be an important part in the reliability mix and the balancing market. Keeping the lights on – with renewables, Transmission System Operators (TSO) manage our energy grids, and they are interested in a wide range of flexibilities and reliability services to keep the grid operational, and to avoid power shortages. But although power levels from renewable sources like sun and wind are increasing, they naturally come with peaks, and they are not always readily available. This natural condition poses a challenge for TSO who want to avoid problems with imbalance. So to help keep our lights on, TSO require real-time forecasts and tools to better manage flexibilities more efficiently.
TSO need balancing platform for flexibility management
Since the EU plans to integrate up to 80% in renewable energies into the power system, the focus has been placed on making it easier for smaller aggregation units (PV, wind, hydro) to offer flexibilities and to participate in energy markets. To do so, the current energy system needs to improve the balancing process to incorporate these additional flexibilities. TSO are indeed interested in seeing small energy providers participate in the balancing market as reserve providers, as long as the financial and administrative framework for smaller units is put into place. In addition, TSO would need a platform for flexibility management and for the exchange of the reserves coming from smaller units. To address these needs expressed by TSO, Project FutureFlow was established in 2016 as pilot project within the H2020 scope for competitive low-carbon energy.
Cross-border trading of energy supply
In FutureFlow, industry leaders joined forces to define operating models for future electricity markets in Europe. In this pilot project, TSO in four countries partnered with developers and consultants to develop a cross-border trading place for consumers, prosumers, renewable energy producers as reserve providers. The role of CyberGrid in this project was fundamental: we provided four instances of our flexibility aggregation platform for the participating countries Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, and Romania. With the help of other project partners, our platform interfaced with about 100 smaller aggregation units across these four countries, pooling all their API’s into our system. This data is very valuable: With it, the system can better predict the future of production and supply of flexibilities. Ultimately, this information is useful for TSO who can now achieve better results in preventing imbalances in the grid.
“For every unit, our platform displays its availability, the price, whether the asset has a maintenance schedule, and whether the flexibility is available within the next hour. This is done in real-time, around the clock, for every new set-point! What’s impossible for a human trader is not a problem for our system.”
The balancing platform - what does it actually do?
What does the platform do? Every 2 seconds, the participating countries send their report on national excess or deficit of power to the FutureFlow real-time balancing and redispatching platform hosted in a cloud environment. This information is then matched with flexibility bids and cross-border capacities continuously provided by prosumers, VPPs, and industrial producers from all 4 countries. If f.e. Hungary needs more electric energy due to bad weather, the system identifies a renewable provider able to give energy at the lowest cost at this moment. Or the system identifies an industrial plant willing to turn down its energy consumption. Then, advanced algorithms identify the best route to transfer the energy, while maintaining stable grids.
Positive impact on society and on the cost of energy
FutureFlow helped to build an improved model for power grids and collaboration. It brings cheap and reliable energy to consumers across Europe, with auto-trading and open market access. Ultimately, the grid becomes more stable, and available energy is used much more efficiently. Also, citizens are being empowered by actively providing additional energy resources to the balancing market, as they move from being mere energy consumers to actually becoming a helping hand.
“With the development done and the experience gained from FutureFlow over the past four years, we were recently also able to facilitate the deployment of the largest set of batteries in Europe! Battery energy storage systems (BESS) are the next step in demand response as a technology-enabled support system to reduce grid imbalances and to ensure the electric power supply.”