InterFlex – Taking Nice Grid to the next level

InterFlex will take findings from Nice Grid to move smart grid technologies from 'demonstration to industrialisation'.

With the pilot phases of Europe’s early smart grid projects having come to an end, the question is how the experiences and learnings from these can be taken forward.

In the case of Nice Grid the answer is straightforward, says Thomas Drizard, the project engineer at the French DSO Enedis. “We want to take the technology from demonstration to industrialisation.”

Nice Grid was the French demonstrator – and one of six national demonstrators – in the EU supported Grid4EU initiative – one of the largest of its type to date in Europe. The project was conducted in the Carros region of southeastern France, which was selected as being an ‘electric peninsula’. It was based around the development of a solar district, with a focus on PV integration, microgrid islanding of an LV district, peak demand reduction and the creation of prosumers.

Optimised energy management on a local scale

With this aim to expand on Nice Grid, and as part of Enedis’ drive to meet the energy transition with smart grid and other new solutions, the company has created the InterFlex project. The three-year, €22.8m project running from 2017 to 2019 will be formally launched in Nice today, 26 January, in a ceremony which will be moderated by Engerati CEO Adam Malik.

InterFlex, which has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding, is a large-scale project spanning five countries and 20 project partners. In addition to Enedis as the coordinator, the partner DSOs include ČEZ Distribuce in the Czech Republic, which takes the role of technical coordinator, E.ON in Sweden, Enexis in the Netherlands and Avacon in Germany.

The broad aim of InterFlex is to explore the INTERactions between FLEXibilities provided by energy market players and the distribution grid in order to optimise network management on a local scale. In particular, the focus will be on energy storage, electric vehicles, demand response, islanding, grid automation and integration of different energy carriers (gas, heat, electricity).

Furthermore, aspects related to the interoperability of systems, replicability of solutions and the business models of projects will be a central focus, led by the academic partner RWTH Aachen University.

Five regional demonstrations

With the rapid growth in distributed renewable energies – now approaching significant shares in parts of Europe – and the prospect of for example, millions of new EV charging stations in the coming years – power flows on the distribution grid are rapidly changing.

In order to adapt the grid, while at the same time minimising grid investments, the DSOs are required to take a more local approach to manage the power flows, such as supporting customers to reduce their consumption at peak times or charging storage systems when renewable power is available.

In this context of high penetration of renewable energies, InterFlex will apply smart grid technologies at an industrial scale in five regional demonstrators.

The French demonstrator led by Enedis is located in Nice and its surroundings, and will investigate flexibilities to support the grid, storage systems and automatic islanding operation.

The Czech demonstrator led by ČEZ Distribuce will use grid automation and energy storage to integrate decentralised renewable energy within the distribution grid and smart functions of EV charging stations as a source of flexibility in different areas of the country.

The German demonstrator led by Avacon is located in a rural area between Helmstedt and Salzgitter in central Germany and will manage a centralised platform of flexibilities and distributed resources to use energy where it is generated in order to relieve the distribution grid.

The Swedish demonstrator led by E.ON is in two parts. The first, located in Malmö, will investigate energy carrier integration using the heat inertia of buildings as a flexibility measure in order to optimise production and DSO operation. The second, located in the Skåne region in southern Sweden, will island a portion of the distribution grid supported by the client through a “peer to peer” approach, and will assess the benefit of this islanding for the DSO.

The Dutch demonstrator led by Enexis is located in Eindhoven and proposes a multi-service approach to unleash the available local flexibility such as stationary storage and EVs through interactions between the DSOs, balance responsible parties and the EV charge point operators.

InterFlex launch

Participants at the InterFlex launch will include Philippe Pradal, Mayor of Nice, Philippe Monloubou, CEO of Enedis, and Anna Colucci, Head of Unit, Retail Markets at DG ENER.

In addition to keynotes from these participants the event will include round tables presenting a strategic view on the project and an overview on the demonstrators and associated activities.

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