The Annex will comprise the following subtasks:
- Subtask A: Scaling from single buildings to clusters of buildings
- Subtask B: Flexibility and resilience in multi-carrier energy systems
- Subtask C: Stakeholder acceptance and engagement
- Subtask D: Development of appropriate implementation (business) models
The main part of the activities will be carried out in parallel.
Subtask A: Scaling from single buildings to clusters of buildings - aggregation
The single unit “seen” from the grid side is typically not an individual building but rather a feeder (electricity) or a branch of a district heating/cooling system or a portfolio of buildings not physically connected. This entity serves as a cluster of buildings (in the power grid also streetlights, EV charging, etc.), and the grid “sees” the aggregated energy demand of these clusters, rather than individual buildings. Unless a building has a very high energy/power demand, the possible energy flexibility from a building is typically too small to bid into a flexibility market. An aggregation of the energy flexibility from many buildings is thus paramount in order to make an impact. The subtask will focus on single-carrier energy systems, with the aim of developing and testing energy flexibility characterization methodologies and control strategies for clusters of buildings.
The aim is to investigate:
- a methodology (based on the Annex 67 development) to characterize the energy flexibility from different types of clusters of buildings or communities
- the available aggregated energy flexibility services from clusters of buildings. Clusters of buildings are areas with existing buildings and in the future also NZEB neighborhoods, Smart cities, Positive energy districts, also including buildings which are not located in the same neighbourhood but have the same type of energy system controlled by an aggregator – e.g. heat pumps and thus create a virtual power plant
- the modelling and forecasting of the aggregated energy flexibility from clusters of buildings, including the uncertainties from buildings, occupants, climate, etc.
- the control (penalty) signals, which allow for activation of the required flexibility services – e.g. a high penalty during peak periods and low penalty during periods with low demands or lot of RES in the network
- the development and implementation of the control strategies for obtaining the required flexibility services. The coordination mechanisms developed at district scale will be evaluated
- both theoretical (simulations) and in real life (measurements) of the possible energy flexibility of clusters of buildings located in different energy networks with different needs for flexibility services
Subtask B: Flexibility and resilience in multi-carrier energy systems
Buildings are often located in areas with more than one energy carrier (electricity, district heating/cooling, and gas). Having more than one energy carrier can potentially increase the energy flexibility from both individual and clusters of buildings – e.g. the combination of larger heat pumps in district heating systems or hybrid heat pumps with gas backup. Controlling thermal and electrical storage as well as switching between different energy carriers also increases resilience towards extreme events.
The aim is to investigate:
- the available energy flexibility and flexibility services from both single hybrid systems and aggregated multicarrier systems, adapting the characterization methodology from Annex 67
- how to design and operate hybrid energy systems in order to maximize their energy flexibility
- how multicarrier systems may ease the transition from fossil-based systems to RES based systems by utilizing the redundancy of old fossil systems together with new RES based systems during the transition phase
- how to control the shift and balance between different energy carriers in order to maximize the energy flexibility and improve its use while minimizing the cost
- cluster vs. building level energy conversion and storage possibilities to increase flexibility
- tools and models to exploit the synergies between flexibility and resilience of multicarrier energy systems
Subtask C: Stakeholder acceptance and engagement
There are many stakeholders involved when considering buildings’ energy flexibility. The stakeholders are the occupants/users in the buildings, the owners, energy cooperatives, the caretakers and ESCOs, but also aggregators, utility companies, consultants, manufacturers, local authorities and politicians. The understanding of the motivations and barriers for the different stakeholders is a key input for developing boundary conditions of simulation models or innovative business models for the utilization of flexibility services from buildings and clusters of buildings. The viewpoint of the different stakeholders is also important when developing and designing technical solutions to make these adapted to the user needs. This subtask will mainly focus on the stakeholder’s role in energy flexibility related to the balancing of intermittent renewable energy. However, the subtask also considers the role of stakeholders, such as occupants, aggregators, and energy communities, as a possible flexible resource in mitigating system critical effects related to extreme (weather) events. Some experiences already exist from heat waves in countries like Australia, where the flexibility of building occupants has played an important role in avoiding blackouts.
The aim is to investigate:
- how different occupants and owners of buildings perceive energy flexibility in their buildings
- barriers and motivating factors for providing flexibility services
- barriers and motivations for utility companies and aggregators to utilize clusters of buildings for flexibility services
- barriers and motivations for energy technology providers (e.g. consultants and manufacturers) to develop solutions to optimize flexibility services from clusters of buildings while minimizing the price of the equipment
- how people will react to extreme events with regard to providing flexibility – at one hand in mitigating effects caused by these events or on the other hand adapt to these events
- how the view of the stakeholders can be utilized in the development of feasible technical solutions, e.g. by applying new design approaches such as cocreation and co-design methods
The subtask will involve social scientists as well as technical experts.
Subtask D: Development of business models
Annex 67 has revealed that a main motivator for leveraging energy flexibility from buildings is the monetizable benefits for end users and energy service providers. It is, therefore, important to investigate and develop business models where all the stakeholders obtain some kind of monetizable benefit for providing or utilizing energy flexibility. From a strategic point of view, existing energy networks and building energy systems will require additional investment and service costs. In order to enable a roll- out of the Annex 82 results it is, therefore, necessary to set up a professional scheme which considers the players in a flexible energy network (grid owner, building owners, users, utility or energy service companies, financiers), their value preposition (services, investments) and remuneration system between the different players. This will be set up in “Business models” by using a business model canvas in which all the services, remuneration and incentives of providers and users will be considered and connected in a marketable way. In order to facilitate an economical benefit, it will often be necessary to also approach policy makers in order to provide the necessary legal framework for the participating countries.
The aim is to investigate:
- different kinds of business cases from existing case studies both viewed from the consumer and the utility point of view informed by the investigation of the stakeholder motivations and barriers. This includes business cases for building portfolio managers
- the value preposition provided in the networks such as increased resilience and investment deferral in the business models for the different players and the necessary services and investments aligned with the value preposition
- assessment of the benefit energy flexibility provides to utilities, network companies and energy users with a specific focus on the benefit resulting from energy resilient energy supply and demand schemes
- approaches for cost optimized solutions (at building, cluster and grid level) which both optimize (to a certain point) the possible flexibility services and minimize the operational and investment cost as a core scope of the business models
- business model (BM) schemes for different countries and their requirements with specific regard to the needs of building and building cluster managers and business models for multiple energy sources in building portfolios/clusters. Also, BM for emerging technologies which still have not matured but should be considered. With the practical design (required services) Subtask C can potentially contribute to Subtask D
- incentivizing systems for the parties involved should be determined
- a specific evaluation should be considered for the de risking approaches of the BM. What happens if the flexibility model does not work?
- besides utilities and ESCOs, some countries have strong market appearances of energy cooperatives which should, if information is available, be evaluated as well
- the question of how the BMs are compliant to the 2050 targets should be considered as well.
- implementation strategy for pilot case studies (Subtask B) and collaboration with target group interviews conducted (Subtask C)
- which type of legislation is necessary to facilitate different types of business models