InovGrid is a distinctive project in the European landscape because it combines a reasonable size, in terms of the number of customers reached, with a strong focus on the Smart Grid vision (as opposed to other projects, which are purely smart meter oriented). After compiling a catalog of all European Smart Grid projects, the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission has recognized the unique positioning of project InovGrid by choosing it as the single case study on which to base the development of its “Guidelines for Conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Smart Grid Projects” [Report EUR 25246 EN]. Additionally, InovGrid was the first national project receiving the Core Label by the European Electricity Grid Initiative (EEGI).
Active Demand response is stimulated by providing user-friendly interfaces for consumers with information on energy consumption, generated energy and management tools to react to external signals (e.g. price). Additionally, the project investigates the use of a real-time gateway for stakeholders to control the local consumption of electricity using demand-side management of large energy consuming devices such as heat pumps, electric vehicles (EVs), etc.
Integration with Smart Homes is achieved by providing energy management functions of home automation devices and smart appliances, that stimulate energy efficiency.
Smart Metering Infrastructure includes the EDP Box to substitute the conventional meters at the consumer/producer premises and the DTC at the MV/LV substations. This equipment enables grid monitoring through data gathering at the consumer and substations level, data analysis functions and interface with commercial and technical central systems, enhancing grid automation and new market solutions.
Smart Metering Data Processing is the functionality of the Smart Grid Asset Data Management System (Sysgrid). It includes all features related to the execution of commands and data gathering of the InovGrid infrastructure with the possibility to be integrated with commercial systems, management of communications and network settings.
Integration of DER is achieved using advanced control and automation functionalities distributed over different levels of a hierarchical control structure that matches the physical structure of the electrical distribution grid. This hierarchical control architecture enables the coordinated and synergistic management of (Distributed Energy Resources) DER, including distributed generation (DG), responsive loads and distributed small-scale storage.
Integration of EV. By anticipating an important future development, the project exploits the potential flexibility of actively managing electric vehicles battery charging at home premises. Additionally, the already existing Portuguese EV charging infrastructure energy flow is monitored and controlled by the InovGrid platform.
Monitoring and control of LV networks. The EDP boxes and DTCs provide real-time information on the grid. That information will also be used to evaluate the impact of micro-generation on system voltages, currents, reliability and, of course, losses.
Automation and Control of MV networks includes the use of the control intelligence integrated in the DTC and automation mechanism. The possibility of remote control of MV devices reduces the need of intervention of work field teams and ensures short time failures. Besides, electric remote controls and monitoring at the substation level are essential to anticipate problems.
Integrated Communications Solution. The DLMS-COSEM is used in InovGrid to enable a structured way of transmission of data currently from the Smart Meter EDP Box to the Systems. A SCADA application is used to collect data from the DTC and support remote control on the medium voltage. For communications, Prime PLC technology is being applied.
The project InovGrid started in the Portuguese municipality of Évora, where the infrastructure spanned the entire municipality, reaching around 30 thousand electricity customers with an annual consumption of approximately 270 GWh. Currently, the project is expanding to other portuguese cities, including Guimarães, Lamego, Batalha/Marinha Grande, Alcochete, Algarve and São João Madeira; reaching more than 150 thousand consumers at the end of 2014. Additionally, starting in the 2015, all the new installations will use EDP boxes, making it the standard technology in Portugal.
From a technical perspective, the architecture of the system includes the following components:
- EDP Boxes (EB), installed in all low voltage customers, offering advanced smart meter functionalities, such as real time readings on demand, load diagrams, voltage monitoring and remote services (connect/disconnect, contracted power and tariff setup, tampering alarms, etc.);
- Distribution Transformer Controllers (DTC) installed in every secondary substation, acting as data concentrators and local metering, monitoring and automation devices (PQ monitoring, MV switching, local sensors, etc.);
- A communication network based on PLC and GPRS technologies, linking EBs and DTCs to head end systems;
- EV charge stations;
- Efficient public lighting systems, based on LED luminaries with advanced control.
The mix of components and technical architecture used in Évora goes well beyond smart metering, serving other applications such as LV substation monitoring and automation.
Results from the pilot in Évora
From a societal point of view, the business case for InovGrid is based on a set of benefits of the project accruing to several stakeholders, including: the DSO itself, regulators, electricity users, energy services companies, electricity retailers, distributed generation promoters and vendors, electric vehicle owners and vendors and, considering the economic and ecological impact, society in general. The deployment in Évora provided ample evidence about many of these benefits, as shown in the following diagram.
These evidences have supported EDP’s assessment of the societal implications and cost-benefit analysis of a full smart grids rollout and the conclusion that smart grids have the potential to create substantial value for the society as a whole. Meanwhile, an independent study commissioned by the Portuguese regulator (ERSE) and produced by KEMA reached very similar results and conclusions. The following graph illustrates how the benefits of a smart grid rollout are divided among different value drivers, in EDP’s business case analysis. The crucial impact of energy efficiency gains in overall value creation is evident.
The InovGrid project is being developed in close cooperation with several organizations including Research Institutes and Universities across Europe, Industrial Partners, Local and National Authorities, Energy Sector Associations and Regulators, the involved Communities and other relevant stakeholders. Delegations from more than 30 countries from all continents, ranging from Australia to China, or Brazil to Angola, have visited Évora InovCity, as well as some prominent personalities from society including Prince Charles, Prince of Wales from the United Kingdom.
EDP believes that InovGrid project is of utter importance to align the EDP Group strategy with the European 2020 Energy objectives, because it has an holistic approach to the different involved aspects and plays a central role acting as an integrated platform, which can leverage the development of new business models, that will allow to reduce the CO2 emissions, inject more renewables in the grid and promote energy efficiency, thus giving a major contribution to meet the European Energy targets.
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