Darren Leniston and David Ryan are part of the Team of Researchers and Engineers in TSSG working on the EdgeFLEX Project
Building on work and research carried out on Smart Grid projects over the past 7 years, researchers in the TSSG are taking part in a ground–breaking Horizon 2020 funded project, EdgeFLEX, with a value of €5million. The project aims to bring advanced and novel electrical engineering techniques, 5G expertise, proven ICT techniques and regulatory expertise together to shape the way electricity is monitored, controlled and traded.
The perspectives of stakeholders in the energy systems are changing. Societal expectations of a low carbon future and the citizen’s expectations of maintaining their current level of freedom in their energy use cannot be met with current solutions. It is the role of the energy and ICT sector to support this paradigm change and investigate and implement solutions that can enable the controlling of unstable renewable energy resources and Virtual Power Plants. This can be achieved using frequency and inertial response and voltage control to ensure a stable and secure supply. These control services within the EdgeFLEX project are coined as fast and slow dynamics that that describe nature of their effect on the efficiency of the power systems.
Central to EdgeFLEX is how it will impact the market using the research and implementation of mechanisms like Service Level Agreement monitoring and Flexibility trading. These concepts are geared towards enabling the trading of energy to be monitored and regulated in a way that may open the energy market to allow the trading of energy outside the long-established Intra-day and Day Ahead markets that are used mainly by large energy suppliers and distributers.
One of the core research components of the EdgeFLEX project is 5G and how it can facilitate, using low latency and high availability, the electrical and market services being developed.
The work will be validated and trialed on a mixture of lab and field trials on 4 pilot sites in Germany and Italy.
The overarching goal of EdgeFLEX is to investigate the broader role of the Virtual Power Plant in terms of a solution to increase the penetration of Renewable Energy Resources and with a combination of Service Level Agreement monitoring and Flexibility Trading mechanisms as new financial tools to make investing in Renewable Energy Resources more attractive for the citizen. Seeing as the citizen is central, this project will be largely driven by end user engagement and how the project outputs can provide a positive impact for the end user and promote the role of the citizen in the new energy paradigm.
TSSG’s role in the project is to develop the Service Level Agreement monitoring tool using past experiences within Smart Energy team around using Policy Based Network Management as a starting point. TSSG are also leaders of Work Package 4, which is central to the integration of the control services into the EdgeFLEX platform.
Software Engineer in TSSG and a Work Package Leader, David Ryan, explained how the team in TSSG aim to use learnings from past projects to aid the development of the EdgeFLEX platform. Their experience in SOGNO and RE–SERVE, two recently completed projects in the Smart Energy space, have prepared the Team for the challenge of making a platform that fits both the pilot site and the control services equally as both are equally important to the overall solution in EdgeFLEX.
He also included how Service Level Agreement monitoring might play a future role in energy trading stating and that such a tool could play major part in allowing energy trading to take place at a smaller scale by providing an automated and scalable method of monitoring and governing the transactions outside the traditional Intraday and Day Ahead market mechanisms. This may see the role of the citizen change from being just a consumer of energy to a producer and market participant.
Darren Leniston, a Software Engineer in TSSG highlighted how the experience gained and lessons learned from contributing to the SOGNO energy project, particularly the use of field devices and software service integration, would benefit EdgeFLEX. These two aspects were a large part of SOGNO and using a standard set of field devices, communication protocols and software services across a diverse set of trial sites located in four countries brought with them many challenges which will be undoubtedly mirrored in EdgeFLEX.
EdgeFLEX began in April 2020 with a two–day kickoff meeting in the unlikely setting of a virtual meeting room with over 34 participants in attendance. In between the odd connection issue and partners not muting and being muted when trying to speak, the kickoff meeting was extremely productive. While it was clear this project will face challenges due to COVID-19, there is enough experience within the consortium to overcome them.