Examining Flexibility Management For Energy Suppliers And Prosumers
In an energy ecosystem, consumption and production occur at the same time. As supply continues to compete with fluctuating demand, we can see that energy markets are beginning to rely more on decentralized solutions to circumvent the drawbacks of inflexible design in traditional powers systems. However, this is not exactly a prime solution. The way to solve this pickle is as simply stated as it is vital: more energy actors are needed. An ecosystem made up of a self-sustaining market powering a grid of IoTs and commercial consumers in such a way that changes in load and supply can be annulled by contributions from battery sources, solar panels, V2G and prosumers.
Smart Grid applications are used to remotely manage and optimize energy actors involved in supply and consumption. This is the future of sustainable energy.
Flexibility Management: A Parallel Solution
The perspective of electricity production has witnessed dynamic changes recently owing to the accelerated inclusion of RES (Renewable Energy Sources). These RES produce clean and reusable energy and have been developed to replace coal and natural gas, which used to be the primary sources. In 2020, renewable sources alone made up 19.8 per cent of the volume of electricity generated and this figure is projected to climb to 35 per cent by 2030. Among these renewable sources are solar and wind. These have also brought decarbonization benefits to the climate and energy market. These variable sources in power generation require the flexibility of a robust power system to balance and sustain grid capacity amidst fluctuating demand. In one instance, the current capacity of RES are not enough to augment the variations of the residual load on the grid. On the other, prosumer energy contributions to the grid need to be managed to maintain the grid's reliability whilst affording them flexibility. Implementing flexible models at the supply and demand points of the network would optimize the entire infrastructure. The influx of various actors into the energy market (to which there is no barrier of entrance) forms an integration that can be managed through IoT, flexibility orchestrators and smart metering, which detects and measures power consumption against real-time pricing.
Supply Flexibility and Demand Response
In the past, simply varying the wattage of power generated gave flexibility in management. However, today, there are new dynamics such as RES, battery storage and DERs (Distributed energy resources). Therefore, flexible generation, network infrastructure, and storage determine the effective management of energy.
The network infrastructure is generally composed of non-flexible arrangements. For example, excess power produced can be stored up during the day in batteries and other storage sites that are not on the grid.The energy from storage can be made readily available to be fed back into the grid to balance load demand.
This technique ensures that users adapt their energy needs to corresponding load and supply grid situations, saving energy and reappropriating it. When incorporated into a smart grid system, demand response management can optimize power consumption. Energy saved is redistributed or stored by suppliers, reducing production costs. Price-based demand response ensures that consumers can save up on energy bills when consuming only what they need.Beyond the subsets of suppliers and consumers, a holistic implementation of demand response is used to balance energy demand and supply through real-time pricing. Also, demand response can offer load relief during load congestions, thereby maintaining the reliability of the system's capacity.
Prosumer Flexibility Management
Present-day energy generation models often undergo a continuous transformation, leading to sophisticated approaches in how energy can be produced and distributed. So, energy markets can no longer function from a centralized outlook as consumers are starting to play active roles that meet up with demand in the grid - prosumers.
Prosumers As Energy Actors
Prosumers are symbiont energy retailers in a smart grid. They generate part of their energy using renewable means or micro-generators. Prosumers can be incentivized to function as DERs when they share or feed the surplus of the power generated back into the grid. They also use electricity from the grid to augment their production capacity. A significant advantage that we cannot overlook is how many prosumer sources offer clean, renewable energy solutions. Moreover, the accelerated introduction of non-fossil RES for prosumers have shown that decarbonization of the energy production phase, even for large scale demand is possible. [caption id="attachment_8715" align="aligncenter" width="927"]
Source: A Comprehensive State-of-the-Art Review and Scientometric Analysis. Energies 2020, 13, 2710. https://doi.org/10.3390/en13112710[/caption]These options coupled with a smart grid can drive a sustainable energy market. Synchronous prosumers distribution can be optimized by innovative flexibility management platforms, a refined business model such as peer-to-peer energy trades and a competent smart grid orchestrator.A smart grid orchestrator can curate data injected from prosumers and use this data to set upenergy behaviour profiles. This energy profile is pigeonholed into short term and long term. Prosumers with long term profiles tend to have more influence on the reliability and sustenance of a power grid.A large number of prosumers on the grid can make balancing more effective. However, there are still many individual consumers who, due to the seemingly cost barrier, may be deterred from investing in an alternative source. Energy communities, however, can make a contribution through decentralized projects.
Correlating variable load with variable supply requires flexibility management. Decentralized energy supply is dynamic, which presents the need for flexibility in power system planning. As more players enter the energy market, operators are faced with the challenge of implementing grid agility while simultaneously cutting losses and incentivizing an energy market.
Hive's flexibility orchestrator is a SaaS application for flexibility management between energy suppliers, prosumers and end-users. Highly scalable with inbuilt AI architecture, it is unquestionably the future of electricity distribution as it uses data-driven schemas to provide innovative grid solutions for energy users.