NOBEL GRID Towards “Clean Energy for All Europeans”

The European Commission (EC) presented on 30th of November in Brussels a package of measures, such as the clean energy transition that is changing the global energy markets and is ensuring “clean energy for all Europeans”, in order to keep the European Union competitive.

The “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, which contains several legislative proposals, has three main goals: putting energy efficiency in first place, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers.

By means of this new package, the Commission wants the European Union (EU) to lead the clean energy transition, not only adapt to it. NOBEL GRID contributes to the EU’s goal of CO2 reduction of at the least 40% by 2030.

“The future is clean and consumers are active and central players on the energy markets of the future. We are ensuring the rights of everyone to produce renewable energy, self-consume, store or sell it into the grid”, explained The Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, during a press conference in Brussels.

In this sense, NOBEL GRID will contribute to the smoothly integration of the distributed energy resources (DER) in the distributions grid by means of technologies and services that will make possible stabler and more secure grids.

This will contribute to enhance the European energy mix, with the reduction of pollutant emissions, resulting in a notable improvement on quality of life for EU citizens. In addition, considering the current economic situation and the dependencies on energy resources, the optimal integration of renewable resources in EU local networks will reduce electricity market price but also will help to mitigate capital and operational costs in grid monitoring and maintenance for the Distribution System Operators (DSOs).

The Commission's “Clean Energy for All Europeans” proposals are designed to show that the clean energy transition is the growth sector of the future - that's where the smart money is.

Consumers: active and central players on the energy markets of the future.

Consumers across the EU in the future will have a better choice of supply, access to reliable energy price comparison tools and the possibility to produce and sell their own electricity.

Increased transparency and better regulation give more opportunities for civil society to become more involved in the energy system and respond to price signals.

The package also contains a number of measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable consumers. NOBEL GRID promotes solutions for all the actors of the energy market and distribution grid, especially for active consumers and prosumers and electric cooperatives schemas, as companies focused on the community, they allow the democratic control by the people of the area. In this context, the energy cooperatives of NOBEL GRID guarantee to the customer a fair price per kilowatt, management of the electric bill and the renewable origin of the power supply. In this way, by means of the promotion of energy cooperatives models, NOBEL GRID brings many different benefits for end-users, guaranteeing the universal access to energy to any social stratum, reducing also energy poverty.

The EU is well placed to use its research, development and innovation policies to turn this transition into a concrete industrial opportunity. By mobilising up to 177 billion euros of public and private investment per year from 2021, this package can generate up to 1% increase in GDP over the next decade and create 900,000 new jobs.

Now the Commission counts on European Parliament and the Member States to make it a reality.

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Marrakech stared at the smart grid

The Low-Emissions Solutions Conference convened in Marrakech, Morocco, on 16th November, held on the side-lines of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), looked at to how smart grid technology can explore the challenges and opportunities this presents for the future energy mix.

 Participants addressed sustainable power systems with panel discussions on leading the clean energy transition, and smart grids. These panel discussions looked at the future of the global energy mix, assessing how this is affected by, inter alia, new technology, innovative renewable solutions, new financial business models and policy drivers. The session on smart grids focused on how smart grid technology can serve economic and social development, and explore the challenges and opportunities this presents for the future energy mix.

Also, Mission Innovation countries came together the 14th of November at the COP22, to report on developments one year on from its launch. In addition, a number of innovation challenges were launched to target development of energy technologies that will accelerate the clean energy transition, among which is the Smart Grids innovation challenge.

Almost 200 countries met in Morocco for the annual UN gathering, against the backdrop of the rapid ratification and entry into force of the landmark deal. The Paris Agreement became international law on 4 November 2016, less than a year after it was adopted. This enabled the Marrakech conference to convene the first ever meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

The COP stands for the “Conference of the Parties.” It is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opened for signature in 1992 during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and later entered into force in 1994. Through this instrument, the United Nations has equipped itself with an action framework to fight global warming.

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Nomination for the European Utility Industry Awards

NOBEL GRID has the honour to be nominated for the category of “Grid Intelligence” in the European Utility Industry Awards 2016 last 15th November in Barcelona, which awards and recognises individuals and projects that have shown outstanding commitment and accomplishments towards a sustainable energy sector.

Despite of having the support of the public thanks to e-voting and being among one of the favourites, jury awarded the BienVEnu project of Enedis, an innovative Smart City project to support the deployment of electric vehicles (EV) in collective housing.

This nomination demonstrates that NOBEL GRID is having a good reception and gaining visibility, not only among experts but also between the citizenship. 

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First Review Meeting of NOBEL GRID

NOBEL GRID Project had its 1st peer review meeting with the European Commission in the village of Eeklo (Belgium) on 15th September, where the 21 partners of the consortium tracked the progress and follow-up of it.

The renewable energy cooperative Ecopower in Flanders (Belgium), partner of NOBEL GRID, hosted this meeting and guided the rest of the consortium through city of Eeklo, one of its pilot site.

Ecopower, one of the five demonstration site of the project, is a renewable energy producer and retailer. It has nearly 50.000 co-operative members and more than 40.000 customers, consuming 98 GWh annually. Ecopower supplies 100% green electricity to its members and promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy and co-operative business models.

The meeting started with a visit to Eeklo, the first wind project of Ecopower. ”We have a lot of renewable energy in the city. There are eight wind turbines of which five are totally cooperative, which means they are owned by the people and the community. There is also solar system and cogeneration on biomass. So half the energy needed for the citizens in Eeklo is already produced by renewable energy”, explained Jan De Pauw, project manager of Ecopower.

After a productive visit to the Eeklo’s renewable energy infrastructure, the consortium exposed the results obtained in the first period of the project (18 months) to Ms. Elena Pedone, Project officer of the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) of the European Commission, who showed very satisfied and proud of the outcomes achieved.

Watch the video of Ecopower and find out one of the five demonstration site of the NOBEL GRID project. 

[Click on the video] 

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The impact of Nobel Grid's tools & services in MEDPOWER 2016 

NOBEL GRID participated in the 10th Mediterranean Conference on Power Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Energy Conversion (MEDPOWER) 6-9 November in Belgrade (Serbia), where several partners of the project presented the impact of its tools and services in Europe.

“MEDPOWER was a great opportunity for having a fruitful dialogue on the regional needs and peculiarities of Smart Grids in EU and the impact of Nobel Grid's tools and services” explained Costas Kalogiros from AUEB, partner of the project.

MEDPOWER belongs to a series of Conferences that have established a major energy platform in the region. The Conference focused on topics of interest to the Electric Power Industry and it intended to address the significant technological changes in all areas of the electric energy including business, products, equipment and methods.

The NOBEL GRID panel took place on the first day of the 10th MEDPOWER conference, targeting not only Smart Grid researchers but also industrial players and policy makers.

Mihai Sanduleac, the technical manager of Nobel Grid, kicked-off the panel by providing a short introduction to the project objectives, as well as tools envisioned and continued by presenting the Unbundled Smart Meter (USM) concept and its benefits to end-users and the rest market actors. Then, Costas Kalogiros gave a brief overview of the tools for generating flexibility profiles and focused on the profiles that characterize customers’ sensitivity to prices.

Aris Dimeas from ICCS continued by describing the wide set of Distribution Grid Management Tools developed in Nobel Grid and was followed by Aitor Corchero from EURECAT, who presented the EMA App and the role that the end-users should play in the Smart Grid era. Then, Joel Hoglund of SICS described the standards-based approach followed by Nobel Grid for ensuring security and privacy. Last, but not least, Alma Solar from Alginet pilot site described the real-world demonstration activities that are planned for the 5 pilot sites during the last phase of the project.

Demand Response schemes was an important topic for MEDPOWER. In this context, the Price Based Flexibility Profiling component produces a profile for each customer for peak and off-peak periods, reflecting real-time demand flexibility as a function of energy retail prices,  environmental context/ conditions, and customer preferences. In general, these profiles are useful for estimating the Demand-side flexibility that can be achieved by Aggregators and ESCOs and thus are important for all major players in the energy ecosystem. Aggregators and ESCOs can benefit from taking key operational decisions related to Manual DR schemes (such as setting the right prices for achieving a certain flexibility) while DSOs, Retailers/Suppliers and TSOs will enjoy a more stable and secure network or be less exposed to the volatility of wholesale markets. 

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Hacking the Energy System

Carbon Co-op, partner of Nobel Grid, hosted “Hacking the Energy System”  one-day conference that took place on 4th of November at the University of Manchester.

 The conference was attended by over 100 participants from all areas of the energy system including DSO, generators and retailers as well as a host of community energy and technology companies.

“The aim of the conference was to highlight the challenges and opportunities offered by a changing energy system and to discuss how different players might be involved” explained Jonathan Atkinson of Carbon Co-op.

The event also celebrated the public launch of the Manchester Nobel Grid test site activities.

 Notable discussions included the role of DSOs in commissioning energy efficiency works as the best way to reduce ongoing costs and carbon emissions, the role of local authorities in facilitating municipal energy systems and the role of community energy companies in offering local, democratically accountable supply to prosumers.

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What’s your role in the Nobel Grid Project?

The main role of Eurecat within Nobel Grid project is the development and deployment of the Energy and Monitoring application called EMA App and support the development of an app for workforce management for DSOs, included in Grid Management and Maintenance Master Framework. 

In addition, Eurecat was also involved in the definition of requirements and use cases at the first phase of the project, and will be participating in transversal activities as lab testing, exploitation plan definition and dissemination activities. Eurecat work will be focused on prosumers, by developing the tools that enable them to become an active actor in the smart grid ecosystem. EMA App provides domestic and industrial prosumers with real time data visualization and recommendations to improve energy efficiency, maximize use of renewables or minimize energy bills according to user’s profile. EMA App also provides the option to share the experiences with other prosumers to foster user engagement and allows them to become an active actor in the smart grid by participating in DR programs, either to benefit for lower energy prices and/or to contribute to grid stability and higher penetration of renewable sources.

How is the project contributing to the new paradigm of the energy consumers?

Nobel Grid contributes to the new paradigm of the energy consumers through empowering them, making them the owner of the energy readings and deciding who is granted to access it and giving them the choice to decide on energy related topics. This paradigm is possible by raising awareness and providing consumers (prosumers) with the appropriate tools, and especially with bidirectional communication channels with smart grids actors, such as DSO, aggregators, retailers, and other prosumers. As a result, Nobel Grid users may help to build the smart grid by adjusting their energy consumption habits to more efficient patterns and more sustainable, being responsive to renewable energy volatility or grid instabilities.

What do you think are the main challenges that the project must face?

In reference to the challenges, Nobel Grid has to achieve:

- Raise awareness about the importance of the resources (including energy) and the impact of aggregated individual actions in the environment.

- The long-term involvement of the users keeping good practices beyond the first weeks.

- Guarantee prosumer data privacy and secure mechanism to manage personal and sensitive data and overcome prosumers’ reluctance to build knowledge based on energy related data.

- Bring together all actors involved in the smart grid, that might have competing interests.

- Identification of profitable business models that work towards a sustainable model.

Tell us other projects in which Eurecat is involved concerning Smart Grid or "Smart Energy”?

In the energy domain, Eurecat is addressing both the smart grid domain and the energy efficiency domain. Within the smart grid, our main work is focused on microgrid management and integration of renewables under the paradigm of energy hub. Eurecat has a lab to emulate different microgrid configurations and it is being used in several private and public funded projects. Regarding energy efficiency domain, our research is focused mainly at building level, on the improvement of constructive elements (passive elements), equipment (active elements) and management of equipment together with user behaviour. The combination of both approaches lead to nZEB buildings, smart districts and smart cities in terms of not only energy but resources management, including water and waste management and the circular economy concept. Some examples of this type of projects are: HIT2GAPPREMIAZEMedSWATERP.

“ECCE Meetings: Circular Economy”, Representation of the European Commission in Spain, 22 November in Madrid (Spain) 

European Utility Week 2016, 15-17 November in Barcelona (Spain) 

10th Mediterranean Conference on Power Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Energy Conversion (MEDPOWER) 6-9 November 2016 in Belgrade (Serbia) 

Hacking the Energy System, 4 November in Manchester (UK)

Smart Energy Workshop, Collaborating Smart Solar-Powered Microgrids, in Caserta (Italy) 27th October

The Microgrid Symposium, 20 October in Niagara-on-the-Lake (Canada)

III Smart Grid Congress, 18-19 October in Madrid (Spain) 

Colombia 4.0 Conference, 14 October in Bogota (Colombia) 

Low Carbon Networks & Innovation Conference, 11-13 October in Manchester (UK)

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement Nº 646184.

 

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