Adding flexibility to our energy markets

30th July 2018
Alex Lynn

The EU has set ambitious targets to significantly reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gases by 2020. One way to do this is by integrating renewable energy sources into electricity supplies. Sim4Blocks is an EU-funded project looking to do just that by developing strategies for flexible energy use.

The Sim4Blocks project has been looking for ways to improve demand response. Demand response makes the management and use of electricity more flexible. Consumers choose to use appliances when energy from renewable sources is high and switch off when it is not. By encouraging demand response at the blocks of building scale, suppliers profit, too.

Partners of the project have been attending a number of events this summer to speak about their work. Below are a number of highlights from this month.

Sim4Blocks make gains at Sustainable Places 2018

The Sustainable Places 2018 conference was co-hosted by the French National Solar Energy Institute of France and the University of Savoie Mont Blanc. Sim4Blocks were at the conference to speak in the workshop titled ‘Upgrading demand response capability in buildings and districts’. Ursula Eicker from HFT Stuttgart, representing Sim4Blocks, spoke about the new role for a cluster manager which is needed for blocks of buildings, especially when dealing with complex demand response products such as heat pumps with storage.

Eicker stressed that while such cluster management exists for simple technical systems such as electric heaters or batteries, and aggregators already have such clusters in their portfolio, development is needed for an intelligent cluster management system for more complex building technology. While other projects deal with higher power systems in commercial applications, Sim4Blocks is one of the very few projects that explicitly addresses small power consumers in residential buildings.

The smarter E Europe

‘The smarter E Europe’ event is an innovation hub for empowering new energy solutions. Sim4Blocks partner Enisyst had a booth at the EM-Power exhibition for intelligent energy use in industry and buildings, and gave a presentation titled ‘Efficient control of energy systems in distributed communal properties – an intelligent operation management system helps to keep the overview’.

The presentation was focused on two areas: the integration of the power-to-heat system in the pilot site’s town hall, and the use of buildings’ thermal mass (through intelligent control) to increase the flexibility of the power-to-heat system operation for demand response applications.

With 30kWh of electrical storage, the school in the pilot site has an area electricity network installed with one connection to the grid. This one connection is to help increase the consumption of its own onsite generated electricity from a large photovoltaic (PV) system and to reduce peak power feed to the electricity grid. The battery will also be used for other demand response services including for other flexibility markets.

During the event, Enisyst displayed the Sim4Blocks project in their exhibition booth and visitors showed a great deal of interest in the developments of the Sim4Blocks project. Visitors were reportedly particularly interested in the use of local flexibility at building and district level in order to increase the consumption of electricity generated onsite.

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