Project Participants

The demonstration activities of e-balance entail the main stakeholders related to the electric grids: households, energy suppliers and grid operators. For them, the project prepares specific activities to show the benefits and the new functionalities of e-balance solution.

Households

Households are the centre of e-balance project. They are empowered with ICT solutions to participate into the energy market actively, contributing with smart driven decisions to flatten the energy demand curve.

Energy supplier

Energy suppliers and aggregators make possible the e-balance framework and the proposed business models, leading the contract conditions to benefit customers and grid operators at the same time and unlocking electric grid flexibility.

Distribution System Operator

The DSO is the operator and owner of the electric infrastructure. In the context of e-balance it is a market player utilising the balancing system to realise operational goals beyond nowadays conditions through the unlocked flexibility.

Households

The project “e-balance” connects producers and consumers of electricity. Consumers like you! The moments at which electricity production is easy and cheap will vary continuously in a world with a lot of decentralised renewable production, such as solar panels and wind turbines. By making the consumption of electricity flexible in time, we will not only be smart at the generator side, but also at the consumption side.

Our energy manager is designed to enable and unlock flexibility in your electricity consumption to the system. To accomplish this, the energy manager will follow the following fully automated basic stepwise approach:

  1. A balancing target is defined
  2. The future production will be estimated by using weather forecasts (KNMI, MeteoGroup, etc.)
  3. The future consumption will also be estimated by using measurements from the past
  4. The energy exchange with the grid will be forecast locally by the energy manager by combining 2 and 3
  5. Shortages and surpluses with respect to the balancing target are determined. The energy manager uses this to determine whether you are expected to acquire electricity from the grid or whether you will be supplying it to the grid.
  6. Another energy manager will operate at the neighbourhood level. It will request all the house-level energy managers to submit the expected energy exchange. Subsequently, it will determine the shortages and surpluses at the neighbourhood level. Following which, a request is made to all energy managers to reduce the shortages and surpluses, bringing the system in balance.
  7. This process is repeated every 15 minutes, supplying a forecast for an entire day ahead.
In order to balance in an automated fashion, you will need to possess appliances or systems, which can be remotely controlled and can “talk” to our system. The more breathing space you give the system, the better it can operate. However, the system will not dictate when you can use your devices, you will determine this yourself! For example, you can program your washing machine or dryer when it should be finished. The system will then calculate for you when the device will be turned on, based on the program you have chosen. An example of such a usage is as follows:

  1. You load your washing machine at 08:00 in the morning
  2. You choose the desired program and your appliance indicates the selected program will take 1 hour to complete
  3. You indicate that it should finish this program before 18:00
  4. The system will determine when the washing machine should be turned on somewhere in between 08:00 and 17:00, making sure the washing program is finished by 18:00

However, if you have a busy day and only remember around noon that you still need to put some cloths in the washing machine. Instead of the time span from 08:00-17:00 to start the device, it will now have 12:00 to 17:00 to work with. This means less flexibility for the system, but it suits your life. The strength of the e-balance system is in the freedom of choice of its users. You determine how flexible you are in helping out with reducing shortages or surpluses of energy. We advocate providing flexibility without the loss of comfort. An automated system suits this philosophy, so that you can focus on other things. You determine the boundaries for the system. For example, your washing machine or dryer can be used as described above, always, while the inverter of your PV rooftop installation will only reduce its production when a grid failure is expected.

Our energy manager provides you with insight into your energy consumption and production. You can view the energy exchange with the electricity grid, the production by your solar panels or wind turbine and the consumption of your smart appliances. Furthermore, it will enable you to compare your values with the averaged ones of the other participants.

Finally, it is also possible to look at the energy mix. In other words, how green your energy really is.

Energy suppliers

The project “e-balance” brings supply and demand of electricity together. The balancing starts at the lower parts of the grid and follows the grid hierarchy upwards all the way up to the high voltage grid with its large scale power plants attached. Balancing is performed by means of “Triana”, developed by the University of Twente and is primarily power based.

The system enables an energy supplier or (local) energy corporation to balance the energy exchange of its customers or members, securing a balanced portfolio on a 15 minute basis. Everybody is a user of the system. This means small and large consumers, prosumers and large scale energy producers. The same algorithms can be used to connect large and small scale consumption and production. The project focusses on small consumers and prosumers though.

We only consider the point of connection for balancing. This means that from an energy supplier point of view we will only see the net energy exchange. This is the part of the user‘s total energy production and consumption that is actually available to the market and affects the grid. The balancing system will request every hierarchically attached energy manager which contribution to a balancing goal can be realised. The energy manager that can contribute the most, will be rewarded accordingly.

In the basis, the following stepwise approach will be followed:

  1. A balancing target is defined
  2. The future production will be estimated by using weather forecasts (KNMI, MeteoGroup, etc.)
  3. The future consumption will also be estimated by using measurements from the past
  4. The energy exchange with the grid will be forecast locally by the energy manager by combining 2 and 3
  5. Shortages and surpluses with respect to the balancing target are determined. The energy manager uses this to determine whether you are expected to acquire electricity from the grid or whether you will be supplying it to the grid.
  6. Another energy manager will operate at the neighbourhood level. It will request all the house-level energy managers to submit the expected energy exchange. Subsequently, it will determine the shortages and surpluses at the neighbourhood level. Following which, a request is made to all energy managers to reduce the shortages and surpluses, bringing the system in balance.
  7. This process is repeated every 15 minutes, supplying a forecast for an entire day ahead.
The pricing mechanism and market coupling is still in its infancy and is not a main part of this project. Our vision on integration of the balancing system with the market can be found on a conceptual level in our project deliverable “Deliverable D2.3 ”.
Balancing by means of Triana is based on a Goal and or Desire. Those that have a balancing goal, determine a so called desired profile. This can be the aggregation result of a customer portfolio in need of balancing, but it can also be a geographical area, like a neighbourhood or region that desires a high degree of autonomy. “In balance” basically means that at a certain hierarchy level a desired profile of “0” is chosen. For example, local balancing in the geographical sense could mean that every secondary substation gets a “desired profile” of “0”. “0” in this context means a goal of zero energy exchange to the other parts of the grid.

An energy corporation could for example be active at every secondary substation through which its members are exchanging energy. Balancing would in this case be virtual and unrelated to geography, but under the hood, local grid constraints are taken into account. The “copper plate” model of today’s market can be active, but with built-in congestion management standing watch.

In this system, every secondary substation will have a grid management unit that also acts as energy manager. It uses local grid capacities and conditions to determine whether a planned energy exchange is possible. These energy managers can also be active virtualised in a datacentre, provided that the grid management part can be supplied with measurements from the secondary substation. These energy managers balance supply and demand through an iterative algorithm, by following the previously mentioned step wise approach. It is not important how a user realises a certain energy exchange, as long as the deviation between agreement and realisation is small and the prediction is communicated.

Based on the grid status, the energy manager of a connection will supply more or less flexibility.

Distribution System Operator

The grid operator has a double role in the e-balance system. On the one hand, the grid operator is the operator and owner of the balancing infrastructure. On the other, it is a market player utilising the balancing system to realise operational goals. For example, reducing the thermal cycles of grid components and peak shaving. Within the e-balance system, this means that the grid operator as operator of the system checks every whether an active planning results in possible grid problems. A grid status indicator will be adjusted in case congestion is expected. We use the USEF colour coding as grid status indicator, thus integration the primary role of the grid operator into the balancing system.

Currently, grid operators know very little about their low voltage networks in terms of currents and voltages. The e-balance system provides the grid operator with the information required to provide insight into the LV grids, without needing additional sensors spread out into the grid. However, adding these sensors will improve the quality of the information about the grid. Our Batalha demonstrator will showcase such sensors in combination for gird management purposes.