Europe’s vision for the development of electricity networks, which can significantly reduce the environmental impact and allow consumers to play a part in adjusting the system, has turned a vision into a reality. This is also thanks to the project ADDRESS, which stands for ('Active Distribution Network with Full Integration of Demand and Distributed Energy Resources').
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This five-year project, answered the call of the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme, in the Energy area, for the 'Development of Interactive Distribution Energy Networks'. The aim of the call was to better integrate renewable energies and distributed generation into the distribution grids and at the same time make full use of customers' demand flexibilities through appropriate economic signals, such as real time pricing developed to exploit those flexibilities.
The ADDRESS project focused on the electricity networks of the future with the aim of making them flexible, accessible, reliable and economical, as per the vision of the SmartGrids European Technology Platform. To do this they have developed technical solutions at the consumer’s premises, and on the power system level, which allows domestic and small commercial consumers to take part in Active Demand programs. This allows consumers to change their own demand of electricity upon the request of an aggregator, through economic incentives, to offer services on the energy markets and to the electricity system players.
The ADDRESS project team believed Active Demand was one way to solve constraints and support the development of 'Renewable Energy Resources' (RES) through the flexibility that it could offer and thus provided economic benefits for consumers.
A comprehensive commercial and technical framework had been developed for active demand and a pilot study was completed in Italy, with other studies carried out in France and Spain. This had been conducted by installing the ADDRESS system in households, in medium voltage control centres and on the network. Within the household smart appliances, smart plugs to control traditional appliances and an energy management box that received aggregator’s signals and managed home appliances accordingly, were installed.
The ADDRESS Consortium of 25 partners from 11 European countries selected their test sites based on the different climates, for example, the heat in Spain versus the cold in France, which means using different equipment and usage patterns. With different network topologies and acceptance conditions this approach validated the entire concept.
Marina Lombardi who was assisting the project coordinator in Enel Distribuzione says, 'Having completed tests in Italy, we are now currently testing the system in around 300 homes in Spain and around 30 in France. Home owners agree to test the system with us, encouraged by the incentive to save 20 % on their energy bill in Spain, and by EUR 50 when joining and an additional EUR 0.50 for every AD request (in gift vouchers) in France’.
The equipment installed in homes allows owners to receive aggregator’s signals and have their demand adjusted accordingly by the energy management box.
How the pilot study was evaluated Ms Lombardi explained, 'We were relying on questionnaires, personal interviews and diaries in order to gauge the experience of our consumers, and how their life is adapting to this new system.'