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Meeting Alginet Pilot Site


What Alginet is?

 The Spanish test site is based in Alginet, a town with 14.000 inhabitants. One of the characteristics of this test site is that Alginet has its own local energy distribution network managed by a local cooperative that acts as Distribution System Operator and as a retailer in the same area.  Suministros Especiales Alginetenses, Coop V. is the local retailer and Alginet Distribución Energía Eléctrica is the local DSO. Both are part of the Grup Cooperativa Elèctrica d’Alginet (Alginet’s Electric Cooperative Group). The Alginet’s Electric Cooperative Group began its operation back in 1930 and is currently supplying 35 million kilowatt-hours per year, to more than 6000 users, by means of more than 40 transformation centres, with an installed power of 18,000 kW.

 What’s your role in the NOBEL GRID project? your outputs?

 Our main role in the project is to act as test site within the project. . The size and characteristics of the energy distribution network and the fact that this is managed by the local cooperative – with direct contact with the end users/associates and with a complete control over the network management process -, makes it the perfect place to implement, validate and test NOBEL GRID products and developments in a real environment.


What are the main challenges the electric cooperatives are facing in the EU?

One of the main challenges for the electric cooperatives, and the small energy companies in general – specially the local DSOs – is to keep track of the rapid changes taking place within the sector. For small DSOs, like the one in Alginet, innovation is both a priority – as they have to be up-to-date with the new developments in order to maintain their position within the market and accomplish with all the new, and rapidly evolving regulations – and a challenge – as their size makes it very difficult to allocate the resources to innovate -. Alginet cooperative has encountered an excellent innovation tool through its participation in EU projects such as NOBEL GRID. Through this participation we are able, not only to keep the company up to date, but also to meet other stakeholders inside and outside the electric sector, to improve the network and introduce new services for our end users.

How Alginet is working on consumer engagement?

 We understand that the prosumer’s role in the energy market transition from a traditional energy system to a future flexible and greener energy ecosystem will be of crucial importance.

 Traditionally the energy chain has been organized in a top-down approach, this concept is changing gradually into a bottom-up approach, as consumers are starting the generate their own electricity and feed the excess of the electricity into the network. Meaning that the injection of electricity into the grid is done both at the top levels of the grid (traditional generation) and at the lower levels of the grid (distributed generation and prosumerism). The test cases we are developing in Alginet are focussed on the DSO’s role and processes, i.e. network monitoring, control and management, therefore the consumers engaged for the test cases in Alginet will be fewer than in other test sites.

Tell us other projects in which Alginet is involved in concerning Smart Grids or Smart Energy?

 Alginet Electric cooperative has participated in other two EU project regarding smart grids:

 -NOBEL (Project nr. 247926): The NOBEL project built an energy brokerage system with which individual energy consumers communicate their energy needs directly with both large-scale and small-scale energy producers, thereby making energy use more efficient.

 – HYRIM (Project nr. 608090): HYRIM main objective is to identify and evaluate ‘Hybrid Risk Metrics’ for assessing and categorizing security risks within interconnected utility infrastructure networks, such as smart energy grids, in order to provide foundations for novel protection, prevention and resilience mechanisms

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