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 optimisation. This solution covers how aggregated small-scale demand and EVs 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; second, aggregators are defining a business case and technical solutions for the 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 the 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 assess the 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 examine how to continue to develop existing balancing and wholesale markets to enable aggregated small-scale demand to participate. This can include the 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 an increased awareness of their own consumption patterns and are provided with a framework for optimised demand response and self-consumption, and access to open IT infrastructures. Pilots are being conducted in Heeten, the Netherlands, and Catalonia, Spain.
BestRES found that aggregated small-scale demand, particularly through automation, is a feasible business model and is ready to be implemented. Market design, however, still provides barriers to many otherwise profitable business models.
In France, the RTE project NEBEF researched the 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 automatic frequency restoration re-serve [aFRR]) as well as congestion management in Germany. Terna has researched small-scale resources for frequency balancing and congestion management. The aims of the TSO projects include improving competition and technology neutrality, the participation of all types of as-sets, reduced procurement costs for TSOs, and the facilitation of aggregator participation.
In Ireland, the Power Off & 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 1,400 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 port-folio of EVs.
The CoordiNet project will help to demonstrate how DSOs and TSOs will act in a coordinated manner and use the same pool of resources to procure grid services in the most reliable and efficient way.
GIFT integrates a Flexibility Market system, which allows DSOs and balancing responsible parties (BRPs) competing for the localised aggregated flexibility, offered by Aggregators for a number of congestions points.
MERLON introduces an integrated modular local energy management framework for the holistic operational optimisation of local energy systems in the presence of high shares of volatile distributed RES.
MUSE GRIDS project aims to demonstrate, system-wide and in real-life operational conditions, a set of both technological and non-technological solutions adapted to local circumstances, targeting local urban energy grids to enable the maximisation of affordable local energy independency thanks to optimised management of the production via end users’ centred control strategies, smart grid functionalities, storage and energy system integration.
NETfficient has deployed and demonstrated local energy storage technologies and developed smart technologies to exploit the synergies be-tween energy storage, the smart grid and the citizens. Such tools include an energy management system which allows the integration of renewable energy generation, forecasting and storage into a smart grid.
REACT’s objective is to achieve island energy independency by joining RES and storage, a demand response platform and promoting user engagement in a local energy community.
The SmartNet project aims to provide optimised instruments and modalities to improve the coordination between the grid operators at the national and local level (respectively the TSOs and DSOs) and the exchange of information for the monitoring and acquisition of ancillary services.
In the STORY project, the aim of case studies 1 and 2 is to demonstrate the synergy of a neighbourhood strategy for flexibility and grid balancing. This demonstration contributes to highlighting the value of storage for the end user, the distribution grid operator, the energy provider and a potential third party aggregating the flexibility.
UPGRID develops and validates solutions to enable the implementation of advanced functionalities over existing technology, to form a truly integrated intelligent system.
WiseGRID integrates, demonstrates and validates advanced ICT services and systems in the energy distribution grid to provide secure, sustainable and flexible smart grids and further empower the European energy consumer.
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 which congestions are prevented from occurring in the grid when e. g. frequency reserves are activated.
 BestRES [Link]
 TSO projects: ENTSO-E TSO/DSO mapping (2018)
- Terna ancillary services pilots
- SmartNet Denmark
- TenneT: aFRR, FCR, congestion management
 EU-SysFlex WP8
 Inertia 2020 – FFR pilot w/Tibber [Link]
 Coordinet [Link]
 GIFT [Link]
 MERLON [Link]
 MUSE-GRIDS [Link]
 NETfficient [Link]
 REACT [Link]
 SmartNet [Link]
 STORY [Link]
 UPGRID [Link]
 WindNode [Link]
 WiseGRID [Link]