High-level Concept

FLEXITRANSTORE, through novel technical solutions but also new business models, aims to contribute to the transformation and digitalization of the European energy system. It is going to aid towards a higher penetration of RES in the production mix and facilitate the establishment of a pan-European integrated wholesale energy market, valorizing flexibility and supporting increasing cross-border flows.

More specifically, the project will implement technologies and novel concepts aiming to:

  • Create an energy market under a common framework;
  • Integrate the South Eastern European (SEE) energy markets, where market coupling activities are progressing slowly;
  • "Touch” different grid flexibility resources: improved operations, grid modernization, demand response, fast ramping supply and energy storage.

In order to succeed into this vision realization, the FLEXITRANSTORE project conducted surveys and analyzed the challenges of flexibility in the SEE region and in Europe (in general), whereas considered the importance of flexibility beyond operational reliability (balancing difficulties, RES curtailments, market challenges, gaps and needs for flexibility assessment). As main outcomes of these analyses, FLEXITRANSTORE described a sophisticated Methodological Approach to govern the definition, design and implementation of the so-called next generation of Flexible Energy Grid (FEG) architecture, which will provide the technical basis to support the valorisation of flexibility services, enhancing the existing European Internal Energy Market. Α wholesale market infrastructure and new business models within this integrated FEG should be upgraded to network players, incentivize new ones to join, while demonstrating new business perspectives for cross border resources management and energy trading.

The FLEXITRANSTORE Concept

The FLEXITRANSTORE Concept

The FEG platform will provide a concrete solution for network operators to exploit the flexibility potential of their grids to the fullest extent. The platform will contain all the tools and applications that will be developed within the course of the project as well as market structures and business models that will provide substantial flexibility resources to all levels of the flexibility assessment. The tools and business models will be hosted within this FEG platform which will provide all the necessary interconnections between them to ensure the interoperability of the system and to implement a more holistic solution rather than several “non-connected” tools and applications. The various parts of the system will share inputs from several databases of electricity demand, weather and grid data and use commercial simulation engines.

The FEG platform will include a toolbox of applications (functionalities of the toolbox will be connected to specific power system flexibility resources, namely demand response, market, grid assets efficiency, etc.), business models to govern the operation of applications, data Management and IT architecture that accommodates all these functionalities, and interfaces with external databases and simulation engines.

Methodological Approach

Following the review of the challenges that the EU power system and market is facing, and taking under consideration the various technologies and innovative concepts that the FLEXITRANSTORE project has employed, there is a need for the design of a sophisticated methodology that would account all aforementioned knowledge gained through the surveys that the project has conducted, whereas at the same time would explore the legislative, operational and technical dimensions. This methodology should be the enabler for the development of a complete and operational FEG toolbox that would serve the vision for flexibility in the following context:

  • System operation services (focusing on the day ahead scheduling and the intra-day and balancing timeframe) for flexibility, including:
  1. the development of methods and tools to address the flexibility needs and resources in the balancing time frame of minutes – days;
  2. the resolution of the congestion limitations and technical characteristics of production plants;
  3. the assessment of technical flexible resource (volume of demand response, innovation solutions, strategic tool), availability flexible resource, need for flexibility.
  • Strategic planning services for forecasting of future needs and assessment on investment plans:
  1. To focus on the system planning and adequacy forecast process to upgrade it with flexibility analysis;
  2. To develop an applicable methodology for strategic decision making i.e. assessing the impact of the demo technologies for improving system flexibility against conventional solutions, resulting in an efficient cost-benefit analysis framework to indicate how the FLEXITRANSTORE concept and tools can provide significant value in the European power system, prescribe new business opportunities and enhance the planning of operators’ infrastructure investments;
  3. To be easily parameterized so as to incorporate the effects of the demo technologies (storage in various network nodes, weather resilient OHLs, congestion relief, flexibility services).
  • Flexibility services trading, as a flexibility market platform that would build on the technical characteristics and operational performance of the project technologies and concepts, would identify the building blocks of existing platforms and would widen their scope to empower an extended list of actors and products.

In order to achieve this, the project found the following steps essential to be materialised:

To identify the gaps of existing tools and market platforms and needs of the actors of the value chain: One of the goals of the FLEXITRANSTORE project is to develop the Flexible Energy Grid (FEG) architecture and an IT platform/toolbox with all functionalities that could fulfil all needs and requirements of the market and participants.

To identify the building blocks of FEG that could build on top of available frameworks: In order to identify building blocks of the FEG all participants on the project were involved in providing their feedback, in relation to the technologies employed, the demonstration scenarios and their expectations. It is true that available frameworks could provide base ground for initial design of FEG business model and its building blocks but demonstrators should also bring new knowledge and lessons learnt for addressing the flexibility issues in the grid.

To further analyse the demonstrators’ concepts and content: Further analysis was conducted on demonstrators and the technology they introduce to FLEXITRANSTORE project. Demonstrators have high influence on the final design of the reference architecture of the FEG due to innovations and new concepts they bring. It was necessary to conduct analysis on demonstrators’ technologies (software and hardware), applied standards, used protocols, functional blocks of their solution/architecture and description of demo operation. This was based on both the business and engineering level (from ICT and Power Engineering point of view).

To explore existing frameworks and guidelines: Many existing Smart Grid concepts are evolving and advancing, some of them are even new and this introduces new challenges in addressing these new concepts. In order to provide a solution for new concepts and to have scalability, interoperability and reliability, the best approach was to follow existing frameworks and guidelines. Of course, Flexibility presents new emerging concept and there are no definitive standards or frameworks to follow and that represents the main challenge in achieving the final solution for the development of Head-End systems such as FEG platform. In addition to this, the overall integration of demos and market participant’s into FEG introduces additional complexity.

 To explore standards, protocols, and existing operational platforms: Within the smart grid, the combination of automation equipment, communication technology and IT is crucial. Interoperability of devices and systems can be seen as the key enabler of smart grids. Therefore, international initiatives have been started in order to identify interoperability standards for smart grids (for example M/490 which developed a first set of smart grid applicable standards and use cases.). Because of diverse technology (related to software and hardware) that will be used during the FLEXITRANSTORE project it is necessary to cover and provide the most important standards and protocols that will be used by demonstrators. Within demonstrator’s analysis will be provided an overview of used and applicable standards to their solutions. Aside demonstrators, there are standards and protocols that can be used in order to connect to related market participants such as system operators, market operators, etc. In this case the standardisation domain for integrations toward market and electric power industry actors should be explored.