On September 3-4, 2019 an international conference on the creation of a new configuration of energy systems on the basis of the so-called “Internet of energy” (mass digitalization and automation of energy management systems, which are increasingly occupied by renewable energy sources and distributed generation), in was held in Berlin, Germany. The participants of the conference identified some aspects of further development of energy systems in the EU.
In October 2019, the European Commission will be finalizing a comprehensive review of the prospects for a single EU digital energy market, which will form the basis for the preparation of relevant draft regulatory acts in 2020. Currently, proposals are being prepared for the main areas of digital dissemination in the energy sector of the EU Member States, taking into account technical, market and regulatory aspects and proposing appropriate integrated solutions.
A special “Energy Data Access Conference” will be held in Tallinn, Estonia, on November 28, 2019, with the aim of creating a concept for the implementation of the so-called “Tallinn Declaration” and form the basis for the implementation of the three main strands of EU-wide policy, namely standardization and compatibility of software platforms and unified approaches to managing data from electricity market participants. This should be the basis for the further widespread use of best practices already available in individual EU Member States across the EU.
According to experts, the so-called “data hubs”, i.e. software products that will collect, process and partially manage user data and provide an appropriate field for the development of energy infrastructure and services, should form the basis of future digital energy platforms. At present, the data hub of the Estonian electricity transmission system operator “Elering” is considered one of the most modern solutions in the field of digital energy. This platform provides automatic data collection for all users in the grid and enables efficient power management.
Georg Rute, Digitalisation Manager and Head of the Smart Grid Unit of “Elering”, participated in the conference and noted that for the successful operation of this platform, a detailed regulatory framework defining the rights and responsibilities of electricity market participants and ensuring the availability and security of all data uploaded into the platform was developed.
Currently, 100% of electricity and gas consumption in Estonia is covered by smart meters. “Elering” acts as the central administrator of digital accounting data and has full access to the commercial metering points of all consumers. This allows to actively innovate ancillary services in the market for the needs of frequency control in the power system, as well as to increase the reliability of functioning through the so-called aggregators (companies, which on the basis of software gain access and the right to manage the objects consuming electricity and / or capable to accumulate and save it).
The representative of IHS Markit, one of the leading international consulting companies in the field of energy, believes that in the coming years there will be a rapid development of accumulation and storage of electricity field based on various technologies, in particular, lithium-ion batteries, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles with the vehicle-to-grid technology (ability to charge and return electricity), management aggregators on demand side (household and industrial devices with controlled consumption, mini and microgeneration, etc.) and virtual power plants.
Through its long-term EU “Erasmus +” education program, the European Commission implements the “Internet of Energy Education and Qualification” (IoE-EQ) education and training program for employees of energy companies. A short guide for “Internet energy” professionals is expected to be issued next year, which will also include references to successful projects, industry leaders in digital energy, including German “Next Kraftwerke”, “Sonnen”, “Octopus Energy”, available funding of innovative development and support for startups.
In addition, the promotion of innovative solutions for transmission and distribution system operators is an important area. Given their role in the management of market participants’ data, two fundamental approaches to the preparation of appropriate platforms are suggested – open energy data platforms with access and management rights for market participants and an appropriate level of protection (based on the example of “Elering” and “Wipro”, which implement a similar project in the UK ) or closed platforms, following the example of the Italian transmission system operator “Terna” (the latter is unlikely to acquire EU-recommended status).
In the context of increasing operational readiness for changes in the electricity market, communication channels can play an important role, and as regards this, the European institutions are willing to support the development of integrated communications and software solutions for network operators. These may include issues related to network management optimization as well as tools for emergency diagnostics and prevention, remote control, maintenance crews, data automation, etc.
Image “Overall architecture of IoE” of researchgate.net.