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In flexibility the solution?

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

Current outlook

Due to the various advantages of electricity as a form of energy over other forms of energy, it has become the backbone of modern civilization. Starting from the GDP of a country to its health index, everything is influenced in some way or the other way by the country's electrical infrastructure.

The conventional electrical networks had a simple top-down organizational structure with the unidirectional flow of electricity from producers to consumers. This setup was simpler and predictable as here supply always followed the demand for electrical power. With growing concerns to cut back on fossil fuels, renewable energy sources have made the conventional power system more decentralized and unpredictable.

The Challenge?

Decreasing inertia, intermittent nature of renewable sources, growing demand- are some of the bottlenecks, today's grid operators need to face. Apart from this, the power industry has to cope with a growing electricity demand using an aging electricity infrastructure. The "consumers" are now becoming "prosumers", who now have the ability to both consume, generate power along with the possibility to participate in electricity markets. With these many new changes, the paradigm-"Demand follows supply", no longer seems appropriate for the current scenario. With growing demand, de-regularised electricity market, decentralization, bi-directional flow of power among other problems; Smart Grid has come up as a panacea.

Demand-side management (DMS) using flexibility is one of the prominent control mechanisms of smart-grids. In simpler words, flexibility is the ability to change the "prosumers" behavior to ease out stress on the electricity network during specific times. Transactive energy uses automated devices to engage in market interactions without human help. By this control mechanism, grid operators ensure two-way communication, as well as decisions, are taken locally for local issues. This is the far most optimized technique to ensure end-user flexibility mobilization.

The PowerMatcher

PowerMatcher® technology is an open-source distributed energy systems architecture and communication protocol, which facilitates the implementation of standardized, scalable Smart Grids, that can include both conventional and renewable energy sources. More information about PowerMatcher can be found here.

Our Project

This project is the implementation of the PowerMatcher® idea for a low voltage residential distribution network with high penetration of renewable energy like solar and wind power. The whole project is implemented in MATLAB® using an object-oriented approach. The model LV grid taken into consideration is as shown below.

The model grid consists of devices like heat-pumps, refrigerators, combined heat and power, EV-chargers, wind turbines, solar panels, and washing-machines. The detailed report and source-code for this project can be found here.

Disclaimer: This project is done as a requirement for the course- "5LED0: Smart Grid", which is offered by the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. No rights can be derived from this article.

PowerMatcher is an Apache 2.0 licensed project. PowerMatcher is a registered trademark of TNO and can only be used under specific conditions. For more information go to TNO.

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