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The energy consumer of the future is flexible

How willing are you to let your energy provider control your heat pump when needed to balance the power grid? What if it meant lower energy prices, guaranteed comfort, opt-out options or extra services?

These are some of the questions addressed by the GreenCom project in the development of a smart energy system for local energy demand management, built around the degree of flexibility and control.

‘Based on contracts with the consumer and different business models, the aim is to find out to what degree energy consumers are willing to let their renewable energy sources be part of a local smart grid and develop a system which enables the distribution system operator to use this flexibility for aggregation, forecasting and balancing of the grid’, says Maurizio Spirito, Project Coordinator in GreenCom and Research Manager at the research and innovation centre ISMB (Istituto Superiore Mario Boella) in Turin, Italy.

Deployment on the Danish Island of Fur
To fully test consumer flexibility and demand control, the GreenCom management system and its related business models will be implemented and further developed in a pilot on the Danish Island of Fur. The pilot involves 42 households on four transformer stations as well as several other stakeholders within the energy field. The plan is to install heat pumps and solar panels in 21 households.

On top of this, electrical appliances in the households will be equipped with sensors so that consumers can follow their energy consumption online with the possibility for further energy savings through automated control options and different tariff structures. The goal is to understand consumer needs and behaviour but also to involve users in their own consumption and production of energy.
‘We will test activity patterns and behaviour and actively engage the customers in the design of future smart energy services. This way we can better understand the processes of changing energy behaviour and create successful business cases’, explains Gitte Wad Thybo, Project Manager at the Danish energy company EnergiMidt who will be responsible for the definition and evaluation of the pilot.

About the project
The GreenCom project is a €4.5M project with the overall aim to balance the local exchange of energy at the community Microgrid level to prevent instability in the centralised grid. It is co-funded by the EU within the 7th Framework Programme, Objective ICT-2011.6.1 Smart Energy Grids (FP 257852). The investment in heat pump and solar panel systems on the Island of Fur is co-funded by the Danish ForskEL-programme by €0.6M. The GreenCom project partners are: Istituto Superiore Mario Boella (Project Coordinator), Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology, Sensing & Control Systems, In-JeT ApS, Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, ACTUA and EnergiMidt.

In-JeT's role
In-JeT's role in the project is to manage the workpackage on business models and requirements engineering thereby developing new business models for demand control in Smart Grids together with the energy provider EnergiMidt. We are managing the iterative requirement process, developing procedures for capturing Lessons Learned and performing requirements re-engineering, constantly keeping the project aligned with its objectives and vision.

Read more about GreenCom
Visit the GreenCom website