Aarhus University Seal

Project description

With this project, we will make a large residential complex and its customers “Smart Grid Ready”. Control and demand response potential of all controllable energy use (and potentially also of the local electricity generation) must be monitored by the building’s own Virtual Power Plant (VPP). The VPP of the building can pool and offer the overall demand response potential to a global VPP at a higher tier in the hierarchy. From here, a given aggregator responds and acts to balance the electrical grid and to participate in the pricing on the electricity market. This creates business opportunities in the liberalized energy market. 

Future electric systems will be significantly different from the electric system we know today. Changes are needed when the large quantity of renewable energy sources will be integrated and utilized in an optimal way. Technically and economically viable solutions must be developed to ensure the balance between electricity production and consumption. 

In tomorrow's electric system, the Smart Grid, considerably more flexibility is needed from the electricity customers and that the interaction between the different energy systems must be utilized to much greater extent than today. In addition, customers need to be involved to become a useful asset in the demand response of the smart grid. To be successful, the involvement of the customers must be based on other incentives than just economic ones.

Knowledge about future electricity prices and weather forecast, play an essential role in determining the demand response potential. These external factors are used as input in the dynamic control of the VPP. While electricity prices are governed by market mechanism the weather forecast that include for instance temperature variation and wind chill factors, need to be taken from a coarser grained prognosis down to the building level. In this project, we will investigate the potential of using local weather forecast in the intelligent control of the VPP.

The proposed project will address the described challenge in generic manner. We have chosen to use a newly constructed low-energy building with 159 apartments where the energy consumption is measured for each apartment. In addition, large common areas are included in the total energy consumption. The building is equipped with district heating, ventilation, heat recovery on wastewater and general consumption e.g., lightning in common areas. These consumptions must interact in the best possible manner for the benefit of the power system to make the building's overall energy system "Smart Grid Ready"!

However, it is commonly known that the energy use in identical buildings may have large differences. Since the buildings are identical, these differences are attributed to the user behaviour in the buildings.  A key to success for the release of the full demand response potential in the smart grid of the future is the active participation of customers in the provision of flexible electricity load. Therefore, thorough user studies will be conducted to develop and verify the proposed flexibility concept.