Aggregation of small-scale demand

Aggregation of small-scale demand is necessary in the present power systems for small loads to be able to participate in wholesale and balancing markets and also in self-balancing and own portfolio optimization. This solution covers how aggregated small-scale demand and electric vehicles during charging can contribute to frequency balancing, congestion management and adequacy, from two perspectives. First, TSOs are defining the products that small-scale demand can deliver to markets, and second, aggregators are defining a business case and technical solutions for aggregation of small-scale demand. Aggregators can be either independent service providers or an electricity supplier. DSOs can be added as the small-scale loads are connected to DSO network.

Components & enablers

  • Regulatory: clear role defined for aggregators
  • Access for small-scale demand to wholesale and balancing markets, and new flexibility markets
  • Smart home technology
  • Access to metering data for aggregators

State of the art in application and research

Aggregator projects look into optimisation of strategies, IT technologies and portfolios. Smart-home appliances and cost-effective storage are typically included to increase demand-side flexibility. Currently, aggregated demand has limited opportunities to participate in markets. TSO projects therefore look into how to continue to develop existing balancing and wholesale markets to enable aggregated small-scale demand to participate. This can include development of new products in the markets, lowered barriers of entry and revised pre-qualification mechanisms and criteria.

FlexCoop addresses how ICT platforms and solutions can be developed for cooperative aggregators. The model covered by the project can offer services to the DSO, TSO and wholesale market. The algorithm of the project aims to accurately forecast demand flexibility, monitor events and optimise aggregator-operated microgrids and portfolios. The prosumers gain increased awareness of their own consumption patterns, are provided with a framework for optimised demand response and self-consumption and access to open IT infrastructures. Pilots are conducted in Heeten, Netherlands, and Catalonia, Spain.

BestRES found that aggregated small-scale demand, particularly through automation, is a feasible business model and ready to be implemented. Market design, however, still provides barriers to many otherwise profitable business models.

In France, the RTE project NEBEF researched participation of demand response in day-ahead, intraday and balancing markets. TenneT has projects covering facilitating small-scale assets for balancing markets in the Netherlands (both FCR and aFRR) as well as congestion management in Germany. Terna has researched small-scale resources for frequency balancing and congestion management. Aims of the TSO projects include improving competition and technology neutrality, participation of all types of assets, reduced procurement costs for TSOs, and facilitation of aggregator participation.

In Ireland, the Power off and save project tested whether aggregated demand from residential consumers could contribute to dealing with congestions in the grid. Residential consumers had a notification sent to their phone by their electricity supplier when there was congestion in the grid, and were awarded with a reduction in their electricity bill if they responded. The 1400 customers contributed to a total reduction in peak demand of up to 560 kW, which illustrates that aggregated demand can contribute.

The Norwegian Inertia 2020 pilots tested and validated that EV aggregators are capable of providing frequency balancing services from a portfolio of EVs.

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 8 – implementation: Aggregator business models have been developed, and aggregators are ready to participate commercially in the relevant markets. See BestRES and FlexCoop.

TRL 6 – demonstration: A range of pilots have been conducted for participation in balancing and wholesale markets. See TSO projects, incl. Inertia 2020.

Current focus of R&D and research gaps

See State of the art.

A main challenge of aggregated small-scale demand is its distributed nature. An aggregator would have to know the location of available flexibility, if activated flexibility is to contribute to congestion management or at least so congestions are prevented from occurring in the grid when e.g. frequency reserves are activated.


[1] FlexCoop. [Link]

[2] Power off and save. [Link1] [Link2]

[3] BestRES. [Link]

[4] TSO projects: ENTSO-E TSO/DSO mapping (2018)

  • Terna ancillary services pilots
  • SmartNet Denmark
  • TenneT: aFRR, FCR, congestion management

[5] EU-SysFlex WP8

[6] Inertia 2020 – FFR pilot w/Tibber. [Link]