Utilising demand flexibility in electrical energy distribution networks


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The transition to sustainable vitality sources like wind and solar and the introduction of electrical autos and warmth pumps are placing a rising pressure on our electrical energy distribution networks. To forestall overloading and reinforcing the community, which is expensive and time-consuming, regulators are more and more trying to new and versatile methods of controlling demand. Ph.D. researcher Rik Fonteijn of the division of Electrical Engineering has developed sensible instruments that may assist distribution system operators make the most of demand flexibility of their day by day operations. Fonteijn will defend his thesis on Friday 29 October.

The energy transition is gaining momentum, with sustainable sources like wind generators and solar panels more and more being launched in distribution networks. Simultaneously, the introduction of electrical autos and heat pumps has put an additional load on present distribution networks.

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Traditionally, distribution networks are designed and bolstered based mostly on the anticipated peak load, to forestall overloading or community congestion. Alternatively, distribution system operators (DSOs) can use demand-side flexibility to keep away from or postpone expensive reinforcements, or to bridge the time it takes to finish reinforcements. This is an utility which the Dutch regulator is presently within the technique of enabling.

In previous analysis, numerous mechanisms (e.g. price-based schemes, tariff adjustments, flexibility markets, direct management) to manage buyer demand have been thought of, analyzed and examined within the area. This has proven that demand flexibility can remedy congestion issues (both utterly or partially).

Daily operation

However, integrating the totally different facets and offering DSOs with the mandatory instruments to make the most of flexibility for congestion administration in day by day operation, is a subject that has not but been extensively researched. Rik Fonteijn’s thesis subsequently centered on flexibility utilization in day by day operation from a distribution system perspective.

He developed a framework to operationalise flexibility and applied it in a pilot setup. The framework consists of 4 steps: knowledge acquisition, load forecasting, decision-making and adaptability mechanism interfacing. The implementation of the four-step framework exhibits that through the use of load forecasting and a decision-making algorithm that considers the price of lifetime discount in case of overloading, the DSO could make a good analysis on whether or not to purchase flexibility or to simply accept an overloading. This leads to aggressive costs of flexibility in comparison with costs occurring on present wholesale and balancing markets.


After the DSO has obtained flexibility from market events, the delivered flexibility must be financially compensated. When flexibility is offered, the habits of the flexibleness supply could be captured by load measurements. It is, nonetheless, not potential to additionally measure the habits of a flexibility supply in case no flexibility is offered.

The anticipated habits is subsequently captured by a so-called baseline, based mostly on which the DSO can settle the delivered flexibility. Traditional baselining strategies will not be appropriate for remunerating variable flexibility sources resembling (curtailment of) solar energy.

Fonteijn proposes another method to find out a baseline for settlement between DSO and aggregator. This method combines the historic methodology with climate knowledge of the second flexibility is offered. It is proven that this could enhance the baseline of solar energy in comparison with conventional strategies.

Practical instruments

By integrating, adapting and increasing on present analysis, Fonteijn has developed sensible instruments vital to begin using flexibility in day by day operation to DSOs. These instruments are built-in in an integral framework of a four-step method and allow the DSO to request their flexibility wants from market events. This analysis illustrates that the proposed ideas can work not solely in idea, however could be tailored and utilized in a sensible (pilot) context.

Flexible loads and renewable energy work together in a highly electrified future

More info:
Rik Fonteijn, Utilising flexibility in distribution system operation, First supervisor: Han Slootweg, second supervisors: Phuong Nguyen, Johan Morren.

Utilising demand flexibility in electrical energy distribution networks (2021, October 29)
retrieved 29 October 2021
from https://techxplore.com/news/2021-10-utilising-demand-flexibility-electricity-networks.html

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