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The Clean Energy Package concluded in spring 2019 has been a strong step within the European energy transition for which the legislator introduced two new concepts: the aggregator and the energy community, writes Roland Tual, Project Manager, FLEXCoop.

These concepts are meant to leverage the progress of ICT in order to introduce renewable energy resources to the European energy market, but also to allow European citizens to be more active in the energy transition. The FLEXCoop project builds on these two novelties to propose a unique solution aiming at making a difference in the great energy challenge ahead.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International 5-2019. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

Objectives

Demand-side flexibility service offers in the residential sector are limited in the EU market. FLEXCoop bets on the role of energy communities to create a solution for European citizens. The project consists of building a fully interoperable end-to-end demand response solution, from the plug to the aggregator to the participation in DR programmes. FLEXCoop is a fully automated solution that enables the control of a series of domestic devices (HVAC, domestic hot water, lights and electric vehicle) and enables the use of prosumers’ consumption flexibility while fully respecting their daily habits and comfort boundaries. FLEXCoop offers tools for consumers to become prosumers and for cooperatives to become aggregators. In between these two actors, the FLEXCoop Marketplace provides this new ecosystem of market actors the opportunity to combine their respective assets and flexibility services and agree on an offer.

Current situation and unexpected results

The FLEXCoop project has been running for two years, revealing the vast extent of services that demand flexibility could offer for the functioning of the grid and the variety of possible business models for energy communities. In this context, the two cooperatives involved in the project as pilot partners have shown different visions triggered by different national contexts, both at a regulatory level and related to their situation in their countries. Based on their requirements, the FLEXCoop solution has been designed and is currently being deployed in the two pilot sites.

The Dutch cooperative is keen to explore the independent aggregator. The market rules have been reformed to enable this business model, while the cooperative sector in the Netherlands is dense but fragmented with a lot of citizens involved in generation-only cooperatives. The cooperative-aggregator

could use this network to rapidly build a wide pool of flexible users, providing their resources for overall grid stability.

The Spanish cooperative is looking towards self-consumption optimisation combined with demand response. Since a recent royal decree put an end to the infamous “sun tax” the environment for self-generation has become much more favourable. The Spanish cooperative is already proceeding to joint purchase and installation of PV panels and foresees the need to optimise self-consumption, new market rules providing incentives in that direction. This cooperative is also a fast-growing retailer that is looking to use demand response to optimise its market position.

Conclusions

FLEXCoop has proven to be a modular solution offering energy communities the tools to fulfil a variety of new business models through which they can foresee and decide upon their coming role as smart energy services providers and remain pioneers of the energy transition. SEI

You can find out more about the FLEXCoop project during European Utility Week in the EU Projects Zone. Meet with them at Stand: M70.j2