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Meeting the Athens University of Economics and Business


The  Athens University of Economics and Business – Research Centre (AUEB) is a dynamic institution of higher education in Greece founded in 1920. AUEB participates in the project by means of the Services, Technologies and Economics (STEcon) group (previously known as Network Economics and Services Group – NES); a research group that was founded in 1999 by Prof. Costas Courcoubetis, co-author of “Pricing Communication Networks: Economics, Technology and Modeling” (Wiley, 2003), and Prof. George D. Stamoulis, who is now the head of the group.

The group comprises members with multidisciplinary scientific expertise and specializes in the combination of technology and economics. We investigate, develop, and evaluate: economic models and business plans, economic mechanisms (such as pricing schemes, SLAs, incentives and auctions) and other incentives-based mechanisms (such as performance differentiation, gamification, and reputation) for demand side management in smart energy grids and for the allocation, management and trading of network, cloud, CDN and IoT services and resources. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical and simulative evaluation of such mechanisms, and on the technologies and data necessary for enabling their implementation in real systems.

Costas Kalogiros, project manager and senior researcher at AUEB and member of the NOBEL GRID consortium, answers some questions to know better the role of AUEB within the H2020 project.

What is your role in the NOBEL GRID project/ your outputs / lessons learned so far?

The main role of AUEB in the NOBEL GRID project is to define and evaluate innovative, yet viable, business models for all actors involved in the smart grid domain, and especially for prosumers, DSOs, Aggregators, ESCOs and Retailers. AUEB is also responsible for the planning of the demonstration activities in five different pilot sites and the evaluation of NOBEL GRID outputs in real-world conditions. 

Key outputs of AUEB are the following:

the Business Model Evaluation tool, which is used for assessing the market impact of NOBEL GRID products and services to individual entities, as well as, to the overall society;

the Price-Based Flexibility Profiling, which is part of the DRFM Profiling Engine and forecasts the demand flexibility (i.e., the expected change in quantity consumed) gained for several candidate, but temporary, changes in retail prices. More specifically, Price-Based Flexibility Profiling generates load profiles for each individual end-point by considering customer sensitivity to prices and/or weather conditions (currently the external temperature).

Traditionally, governmental energy financial support schemes (e.g., Feed-in tariffs, defining the fixedIMG_0946income of producers for each KWh injected to the grid for a rather long period such as 20 years) have had great impact on the adoption of renewable technologies by consumers around the globe. In general, the Prosumer business model becomes profitable in cases where a) the benefits from self-consumption are very important, such as in countries with high retail prices (e.g., Germany), for large buildings where demand usually exceeds production (such as offices), smaller buildings with temporal overlap of production and load curves (such as residents with pensioners), or flexible loads (such as smart homes) and b) generation potential is significant (e.g., in southern EU countries with high solar irradiation).

By using the Business Model Evaluation tool we found that low governmental financial support can be overcome when production is combined with storage systems (e.g., battery) in countries with high solar irradiation (e.g., southern EU countries), or high retail prices (like Germany). These prosumers can improve their profitability by partnering with RESCOs, even though the latter would need to sell part of its capacity to the grid in order to invest in batteries. Furthermore, prosumers can have another source of revenue by participating in Demand-Response campaigns, but such revenues are low currently compared to the rest adoption drivers (cost savings and revenues from injecting energy to the grid).

What are the main challenges NOBEL GRID must face in the EU? 

Demand-side management techniques will have to prove their cost-effectiveness to DSOs and Retailers in order to be considered as an alternative to traditional mechanisms for balancing supply and demand. This is very important for end-users to participate in Demand-Response campaigns and consequently for the viability of the Aggregator’s business model.

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

The STEcon group during the last 10 years has participated in a broad set of successfully completed innovative EU-funded projects in the area of Energy and Smart Grids (presented below), Cloud Computing (ASCETIC, BEinGRID, GridEcon), in architecting the Future Internet and Telecommunication Networks (SmartenIT, OPTET, PURSUIT, Trilogy, SmoothIT, ETICS), and in the area of IoT (INCEPTION co-funded by the EU and the Greek government).

The EU-funded projects below performed cutting edge multidisciplinary research in Smart Grids:

WiseGrid (Nov. 2016 – Apr. 2020): the project puts in the market a set of solutions and technologies that increase the smartness, stability and security of an open, consumer-centric European energy grid, with an enhanced use of storage technologies and a highly increased share of renewables.

Nobel Grid (Jan. 2015 – Jun. 2018): provides advanced tools and ICT services to all actors in the Smart Grid and in the retail electricity market to attain benefits from demand response, lower prices, more secure and stable grids and a cleaner mix of electricity in the presence of renewables and prosumers.

ChArGED (Mar. 2016 – Feb.2019): addresses the energy consumption in public buildings and proposes a gamification human-centric approach using IoT to facilitate energy efficiency and incite users to avoid waste of energy.

OPTi (Mar. 2015 – Apr. 2018): the project develops tools and techniques for modelling and optimizing existing and future district heating and cooling networks, studying among others automated demand response (ADR) programs with users being incentivized to sign ADR contracts. 

Wattalyst (Nov. 2011 – Dec. 2014): the project analysed, designed and implemented efficient Demand response (DR) programs for electricity, whereby users were appropriately incentivized to reduce their peak consumption when needed.

How NOBEL GRID could contribute in the energy market?

NOBEL GRID products are well-positioned for helping consumers to become again a pivotal part of the energy market and at the same time for new business models to become viable. In particular, the DRFM Cockpit can take advantage of fine-grained data from NOBEL GRID smart meters (both SMX and SLAM) and the DRFM Profiling Engine in order to help Aggregators manage their portfolio of end-users in a successful and cost-effective way. Furthermore, the G3M can help DSOs identify and deal with network issues such, as congestion, by considering a wide range of countermeasures, including asking an Aggregator to run a Demand-Response campaign. Finally, end-users can gain better understanding of their consumption patterns, identify ways to reduce their bills and participate in explicit campaigns by installing the EMA-App on their smartphone.

What the Business Model Evaluation tool is?

The Business Model Evaluation tool is a “what-if” scenario tool for the techno-economic evaluation of innovative smart grid technologies, which is based on well-known approaches such as value network analysis and business model canvas. The tool allows the user to model value networks of multiple actors and roles, aiming at evaluating: a) business models enabled by innovative smart grid technologies (e.g., those developed by H2020 EU-funded projects, off-the-shelf products/services), b) the replication and upscaling of technologies to new regions/markets, and c) the Cost-Benefit for the society as a whole in accordance to EU guidelines.


This techno-economic evaluation is done by:

  • Comparing standard/existing against new innovative business models using several financial metrics based on data inputs supplied by the user (future versions will be integrated with smart grid simulation modules for reducing the inputs required);
  • Considering multiple roles organized into value networks in any context where multiple roles/business actors interact, including technology providers (thus not restricted to smart grid markets);
  • Supporting multiple locations simultaneously, such as pilot sites, regions or countries;
  • Considering the incentives of the roles when deciding how money flows within the value network (e.g., how revenues should be split, how services should be charged, etc);
  • Performing sensitivity analysis for cost items and revenue streams whose magnitude is not known a-priori;
  • Automating error-prone tasks;
  • Providing a fully-customizable, transparent and flexible tool based on Microsoft Excel (e.g., the user can see under the hood, add features and update formulas);

The tool is extensible and already used for specifying and evaluating the market potential of the Smart Grid technologies and the resulting interactions among the market players, namely DSOs, Aggregators, Retailers and Prosumers.

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