The I3RES Management Tool is an ICT system designed to balance energy production and consumption in an optimized, controlled and secure way in power networks with massive distributed and renewable sources. It is made up of the following elements:
- A monitoring infrastructure that integrates information from multiple sensors and legacy systems in the grid.
- Algorithms for forecasting, state estimation and optimisation that assist DSOs in the management of the network.
- Data mining and artificial intelligence tools for aggregators to analyse demand, generate tariffs dynamically and send demand response signals to its customers.
The three I3RES elements are supported and coordinated by a service-oriented framework that provides open and scalable interfaces to connect legacy and new devices; semantic capabilities to achieve interoperability and manage information from heterogeneous sources; and a collection of high-level services with a REST API to ease the development of user applications.
I3RES is aware of the market and regulatory context. Its business approach is based on open multi-sided platforms where different stakeholder domains can see different facets of the I3RES Management Tool and interact seamlessly. This concept is known as Multi-Sided Platform and is especially suited for shared revenue models and mutually beneficent energy distribution scenarios in which a convergent vision of sustainability and efficiency is pursued.
The project comprises a well-balanced consortium of industrial and research organizations, strengthened with a DSO that plays a leading role to quantify and validate the achievement of concrete market and technical needs involved in the introduction of an innovative smart grid management tool for DSOs and aggregators. Ultimately, this tool enables consumers to play a new role and answer to different geographic market needs and expectations in connection with the transition to smart grids and integration of RES.
CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVES
The need to optimize the integration of renewable energy sources in the distribution grid is widely recognised within the energy industry. This problem is becoming increasingly challenging mainly due to the three following trends:
Automation of power grids
This trend results in a more capable network, but can also generate interoperability issues between automation systems. As more and more ICT components are connected to the physical electrical infrastructure, interoperability is a key requirement for a robust, reliable and secure Smart Grid infrastructure. The way to achieve Smart Grid system interoperability is through detailed system specification, through use of standards, and through testing. Although the majority of Smart Grid equipment is based on (inter)national standards, this does not automatically result in an interoperable Smart Grid infrastructure.
Bigger Renewable Energy Sources (RES)
This trend allow a cleaner share, but cause uncertainty and intermittency in the generation and consequently in the whole system balance. Large penetration of intermittent generation introduces additional requirements for balancing products and services: since wind and solar generation have limited predictability, more precise forecasting algorithms are needed and larger amounts of flexible sources are necessary. The consequence for electricity systems with a high penetration of wind generation is a higher exposure to problems related to grid stability.
More Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
This trend introduces bi-directional energy flow and new business models, but also leads to a more complex operation. Traditionally, differences in demand and supply in power systems have been balanced almost entirely by monitoring the consumption and controlling the generation. To ensure that the system is balanced, generators just followed the demand variability compensating frequency and voltage variations. With the introduction of small distributed and renewable energy resources, out of control for the system operator, uncertainty affects not only consumption but also generation. Therefore, new ways of balancing supply and demand are needed.
I3RES aimed to contribute to the technical solution demanded by the power industry. For this reason, its main goal was to develop a Management Tool for the distribution grid underpinned by:
- A smart grid monitoring and supervision system that responds to the first of the cited trends by integrating information from already installed systems (e.g. SCADA, EMS and smart meters).
This technical objective was to develop technologies and prototypes to gather information about the status of the grid, the RES, and the consumption and storage components to strengthen the distribution grid by compensating renewables intermittencies. All of these technologies and prototypes should be developed with the degree of real time demanded by the applications needed for distribution grid operation management and taking into account the interoperability and affordability challenges required in the transition to smart energy grids.
- Control operation support algorithms that assist the distribution company in the management of massively distributed RES and large scale RES within the distribution network.
This technical objective addresses the increase of intermittent and unpredictable energy sources. It consists on the development of operation support tools, such as generation forecasting for different types of technologies, and an Optimal Power Flow (OPF) tool for the smart grid control and optimal operation. Particularly, it looks for the required set points for the active and reactive power injection of the distributed generators should be computed at all times, to always keep the system within a safe, reliable and economic conditions.
- Demand side and distributed generation management tools to analyse consumers' energy demand and production in the distribution grid.
This objective can be specified as the development of smart processes allowing aggregators to classify costumers according to their consumption habits, to establish price policies, to respond to DSO consumption and own requirements, to identify the customers to whom the consumption conditions will be modified, to translate into a set of specific actions in building energy management systems and to verify that the request is correctly executed by the final customers.
In addition to these three objectives that respond directly to the interoperability of information systems, the uncertainty of renewable generation and the complexity of distributed resources management, a fourth technical objective was defined for I3RES:
- A semantic middleware that manages the grid capabilities, supports the deployment of services and eases the development of user applications.
The computational view of the I3RES is defined by the development of an open platform based on standardized and commercial off-the-self technologies supporting the deployment of new services and decision making mechanisms 1) to support tasks associated to monitoring in the context of the medium and low voltage network, 2) to manage the distribution of RES production in the distribution network associated to the stakeholders and 3) to manage & control generation-consumption balance from the consumer point of view (DSM).
 CEN-CENELEC-ETSI 2014 “Methodologies to facilitate Smart Grid system interoperability through standardization, system design and testing”
 EURELECTRIC 2010, “Integrating intermittent renewables sources into the EU electricity system by 2020: challenges and solutions”.