Demand Response is Enhancing DER Integration

An increasing number of demand response projects are being designed to support and harness the full potential of distributed energy resource integration.
Published: Mon 03 Feb 2014

The Grid4EU Project, one of the largest smart grid projects funded by the European Commission, is focusing a lot of its attention on how demand response can enhance the integration of distributed energy resources.

Active demand is “hot”

According to Rémy Garaude-Verdier, Smart Grids Project Manager, ERDF, France, active demand is a “very hot topic” and is being tested heavily in France, Spain, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic. In his presentation, How Demand Response Could Participate to Maximise DER Integration? [EU Utility Week 2013], he explains that in order to manage this project; common tools and methodology must be adopted so that results can be shared more efficiently. It is also key for the fostering of synergies, common work, and ease of assessment and replication of scalability potential.

He explains that “thought-overlapping” is avoided by deploying on different scales, under different conditions, and in various countries. “This means we don’t carry out stand alone demonstrations. We talk about complementary demonstrations. Different technology and environments will provide interesting analogies.

An example of this is the islanding operation in France and the Czech Republic. In the Czech Republic, the operation is based in the CH unit and in France; it’s based on solar panels and lithium batteries.

The French Demonstration

Grid4EU is monitoring a project in Carros, France, where solutions are being sought for the significant increase of photovoltaic generation. Christophe Arnoult, Smart Grids project manager, ERDF, France, points out that their current grid is unable to support this escalation in renewable generation and requires an urgent solution. The system is overloaded, and as a result, outages are on the increase.

The project has been initiated in order to resolve the issue. Project managers are asking how customers can help the distribution system operators to manage this excess photovoltaic generation. They are also asking how customers can help the transmission system operators to reduce peak period consumption.

The project aims to increase the load in summer (through shifting) and reduce the load in winter.

The project, involving a total of 1500 customers, will test extreme situations and go in to islanding mode for a one single LV feeder with 100 customers with only photovoltaic generation and storage.

Mr Arnoult explains that today, in France, the distribution system operator already uses peak and off-peak tariffs to monitor around 12 million water tank heaters (geysers). “We want to take this further and see how we can use different flexibilities in the grid by including different loads from customers’ premises.”

The following architecture has been developed for photovoltaic management:

  • Load forecasting-This would involve the pre-calculation and prediction of loads the day before. This could help to localise the grid constraints the day before.

  • Solar generation forecasting

  • Controllable loads

  • Network energy management-Flexibilities will be requested from the distribution systems operator. Various third parties like aggregators and customers will be asked to adjust energy consumption levels. This can be done via sms, for instance, or there will be an automated adjustment of power.

  • Network constraints calculation

Mr Arnoult points out that they aim to have the system up and running by summer 2014.

Customer Involvement

Mr Arnoult points out that major focus has been placed on customer involvement in the demand response projects:

In Spain, in-home display equipment has been installed in 200 homes so that it can test for a shift in behaviour towards consumption.

In Italy, there has been an increase in the medium voltage (MV) network’s hosting capacity for distributed energy resources (particularly for solar). An active control has been introduced, as well as demand response of MV generators, controllable loads and storage. This involves industrial customers mainly. This aims to see whether load shedding will solve voltage violation.

In the Czech Republic, MV/LV automation is being developed, as well as efficient communication connections and a regional dispatcher system to support automated operations. Customers are being encouraged to get involved in extreme situations like islanding mode. In the event of an “unbalance situation”, customers are asked to reduce loads.

Demand response is a clean energy tool that can ensure our grid maintains reliability even when those resources reach their maximum generating capacity.