The creation of local electrical markets to promote the prosumer role in Smart Grids is no longer just an idea, but also the main objective of EMPOWER, which started on January 2015. The project addresses the topic “Modernising the European electricity grid: LCE 7 – 2014: Distribution grid and retail market” of the call “Competitive Low-Carbon Energy” of the HORIZON 2020 work programme 2014-2015. Aiming to develop and verify a local market place and innovative business models, including operational methods, the project encourages micro-generation and the active participation of prosumers to exploit the flexibility created for the benefit of all connected to the local grid.
The increasing installed capacity of renewable energy generation in the electrical system and the massive rollout of smart meters show that an improvement of electricity system sustainability and performance has just begun.
Due to the distributed installation of intermittent, renewable generation the role of distribution system operators (DSO) have become much more important than before the electricity market liberalization carried out in the European Union. To maintain a high level of quality of costumer services and electricity supply, new information and communication technologies are needed and new roles will evolve at the interface between DSO’s, local consumers / prosumers, decentralised electricity suppliers and the transmission operator. Small to medium-scale distributed storage systems on medium and low voltage supply systems level will have to be managed in the future.
In order to exploit prosumer flexibility in real life, new methodologies, products and services need to be developed and commercialized. This includes on the building side methods for data acquisition and surveillance in individual buildings, decision support models for individual and clusters of buildings with multiple optimization criteria and finally models to analyze the mutual impact between single or multiple, organized prosumers and the energy system.
The proposed empowering project enables the establishment and operation of local energy cooperatives that can manage renewable energy resources and serve members, while operating in an open, competitive market environment. It puts coordinated prosumers into the centre of future local power market design. The project aims to investigate the concept of a regional market and an associated service to manage the exchange of energy, communication and monetary credit assignment.