Italy’s Areti launches flexibility pilot in Rome

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The Italian pilot of the Platone project will experiment with the creation of a local blockchain based flexibility market in the metropolitan area of Rome.

The pilot, which is led by the local distribution system operator (DSO) Areti and parent company Acea, is intended to investigate the potential for flexibility from different types of users within a large metropolitan area.

These will include a cogeneration plant supplying energy to a wastewater treatment plant and connected to the transmission grid, a virtual energy community connected to the low voltage grid, private homes equipped with solar rooftop and storage systems, offices equipped with smart energy efficiency solutions and electric vehicle charging stations.

The main objective of the trial is to implement a complete end-to-end flexible environment utilising an innovative architecture built around the blockchain that enables retail and business customers and aggregators to become active players in the network alongside the DSO.

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Acea Energia, the retailer – also part of the Acea group – will take on the role of aggregator. Other partners in the pilot include Siemens and the Italian IoT solution start-up Apio.

The pilot will build on tests carried out with ten customers by Areti and the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) over the past year and will be expanded with increasing participation over its two years duration.

To enable end customers to energy flexibility on the electricity distribution network, it must be equipped with systems that make it able to interact with the customers themselves, record the requests for flexibility sent and their responses, as well as reconfigure the network to be more reliable and able to support the flexibility market, a statement says.

The Italian pilot is one of three in the Horizon 2020 supported Platone (Platform for Operation of Distribution Networks) initiative, which is aimed at developing new approaches for DSOs to increase the observability of renewable energy resources while exploiting their flexibility.

Other pilots are focused on load balancing in Germany, which is being led by Avacon, and advanced network observability in Greece, which is led by Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

The project team also has established a cooperation with the Distributed Energy Management Initiative (DEMI) in Alberta, Canada, to investigate flexibility in microgrids.

The Platone project was launched in 2019 and runs for four years.

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