FutureFlow Project – Balancing The Future Grid

The FutureFlow project will design eTrading solutions for electricity balancing and re-dispatching in Europe.
Published: Mon 15 Feb 2016

The growing share of renewable electricity has reduced drastically the capabilities of conventional, fossil-fuel based means to ensure balancing activities and congestion relief through re-dispatching.

There is a need to face future balancing and network security challenges with the help of a more intensive and joint approach at regional level.

FutureFlow project launched

In response to this, the FutureFlow project has been initiated under the EC Horizon 2020 framework. The project will link interconnected control areas of four TSOs of Central-South Europe to ensure a higher level of transmission system security. These are ELES of Slovenia, APG of Austria, MAVIR of Hungary and TRANSELECTRICA of Romania. which today face increasing challenges to ensure transmission system security.

The ambitious €13 million four-year project was launched officially in January at a meeting in Ljubljana. Attendees included twelve consortium partners from eight European countries, leading European companies in the field of novel electricity balancing services, and the project officer from the European Commission, Mrs. Mariana Stancheva, as well as Mr. Uroš Salobir, the project coordinator from the ELES CEO Office.

Mr Salobir expressed his optimism and eagerness for enabling renewable sources and consumers to contribute to electricity grid stability as never before.

In the meeting the consortium partners reviewed the project plan of the 4-year project and laid out the main priorities for the year 2016. The preparation of technical specifications and business models, specifications and studies which are essential for prototyping pilot platforms represent the main challenges for the coming year.   

Research and innovation

The project proposes research and innovation activities to validate that consumers and distributed generators can be put in a position to provide balancing and redispatching services in addition to conventional units, within an attractive business environment.

Consortium partners have agreed to jointly explore the combination of two routes to provide solutions to such problems through a unique regional cooperation:

  • The design of a regional cross-border techno-economic cooperation scheme: it is tailored to ensure the participation of advanced commercial and industrial consumers, prosumers and distributed renewable generators in the provision of advanced ancillary services in TSO environments with limited flexibility options.

  • The development and pilot testing of a comprehensive prototype IT platform and the associated economic model(s) to support this cooperation scheme.

The research and innovation activities involve real energy market players (between 20MW and 40MW of the flexible balancing power services expected to be made available in the control areas of the four TSOs), including:

  • Prototyping of innovative flexibility aggregation platforms within all four control zones,

  • Prototyping of a regional IT platform enabling access of these flexibility aggregation platforms to the international markets,

  • Enabling optimization of relevant functionalities within the TSO environments from the regional perspective,

  • Pilot testing of these platforms and connections, based on a set of progressively ambitious use cases involving real electricity market players

An ex-post impact analysis is proposed to deliver recommendations for the scaling-up and replication of the most promising use cases.

External stakeholders not excluded

Besides FutureFlow consortium partners the knowledge and experience will be exchanged with external stakeholders as well via the:

  • Advisory Board encompassing research experts, consumers associations, renewable and conventional generators associations, retailers, aggregators and regulators to address the critical research questions, the solutions developed the investigated use cases and the scaling up or replicability potential of the prototypes.

  • Reference Group of TSOs, which aims at dealing specifically with TSOs issues regarding for instance the links between the FutureFlow project and the Network Code on Electricity Balancing implementation.

Both bodies, the Advisory Board and Reference Group of TSOs have already been established, however new members are welcomed.