Today, aggregation in the energy industry is a growing business, especially in the industrial and commercial areas, as well as in the residential sector. Its application depends not only on the technical capabilities of the connected devices but also on local requirements and regulations. Combined with changing trends in pricing, this has created barriers to implementation.
With the rapid adoption of electric vehicles and chargers, e-mobility is creating new momentum for aggregation. The ever-growing asset base and the ability to shift charging processes bring significant capacity and flexibility.
Applications of e-mobility aggregation can be applied on three different levels of the ecosystem
The first level is on-site, where the assets are installed and connected. Depending on the type of assets, typical value propositions are, for example, self-consumption optimization, the minimization of grid-related costs, and local network stability protection (on-premise peak shaving).
On the second level, it is possible to aggregate and optimize assets locally, such as in a neighbourhood or larger industrial site. The main purpose of this is often to balance energy usage or secure local stability in the distribution grid. Most implementations for multi-dwelling units, communities, or microgrids are still in an experimental phase, but technology development and changes in regulation are supporting the implementation.
At the third level, aggregation, in most cases nationwide, allows the application of Virtual Power Plant solutions. This can focus either on optimization for energy services like day-ahead or balancing group optimization, or for grid services, either for the distribution or transmission grid.
These levels of aggregation can be stacked up to deliver additional values, helping to optimize and save energy for individuals, communities, and societies.
Since e-mobility is one of the fastest-growing areas in the energy industry, it is exciting to develop business models based on those aggregation levels.
For end customers, buying an electric car and combining the charging process with a solar system immediately creates the desire for enhanced self-consumption. Even though full self-consumption depends on the car’s usage profile, at least a good approximation of optimal energy usage and minimized CO2 emissions is given. Furthermore, adding a car charger on a residential house network can put stress on the limits of the fuses, causing a need for alignment of energy consumption of different assets. Such an enhancement of capacity is not always possible.
Looking at fleets becomes necessary as the number of electric cars increases. Whereas fleets are conventionally understood as belonging to a single owner, a fleet may also be a group of cars in a specific geographical area like a neighbourhood. In both cases, charging capacities are often limited but have to be maximized for utilization. The concept of aggregation and alignment can be applied to meet the needs of a fleet.
On the highest grid level, e-car charging offers a commercially interesting amount of flexibility that can be used for energy and grid services. First applications show revenues of potentially up to 100 EUR / car/year. With connectivity via cloud-2-cloud, aggregation is relatively easy to realize, even though the reliability and security of these connections often remain a problem. While V2X is still in the early stages of development, research focus, and the vast improvement of batteries will contribute to the implementation of respective solutions.
tiko as a global aggregator is offering flexible and modular technology that enables innovative, hybrid business models. This allows each actor to gain money and efficiency while enabling consumers to gain insight and control over their energy consumption.
About the author
Sandra Trittin is co-founder and Chief Sales Officer of tiko Energy Solutions since 2012.
She joined Swisscom in 2002 reorganizing process and organizational structures, before to take the lead of software design/development teams for the construction of IP based communication services. She later joined the strategy team of Swisscom.