The European Commission is promoting the development of solutions to the challenges of electricity grids in the future renewable-based energy system. The local exchange of electricity could contribute to resolving this challenge and permit, for example, that the surplus generated by a photovoltaic panel could be offered to another user in the network. In this respect, blockchain technology offers new opportunities to design electricity markets and develop new business models that include the integration of local electricity markets into current national markets.
In this context, the European project BEYONDis part of the ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems initiative, supported by the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 of the European Union. Participants include 14 members of 8 countries, including the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), through the Centre for Technological Innovation in Static Converters and Drives (CITCEA), under the leadership of researchers Mònica Aragüés and Andreas Sumper. In the project, CITCEA collaborates closely with the start-up FLEXIDAO, which is specialised in blockchain technology.
More sustainable energy generation models
The flexibility of electrical systems is fundamental in the process of energy transition to increasingly sustainable energy generation models. Flexible systems can adapt safely and efficiently to conditions of variability in energy generation and demand. The BEYOND project is designed to respond to these challenges through local electricity markets based on smart contracts and blockchain technologies, which include the use of peer-to-peer networks (P2P) and flexible markets.
In this project, various formulae will be studied for the interaction of local markets in national markets, with the idea of proposing and defining specific alternatives for each country, according to their own requirements. To validate the tools developed during the project, the aim is to implement a decentralised local market in three pilot projects in Austria, Ireland and Norway.
CITCEA will participate actively in the tasks of designing local markets, identifying and characterising the actors, roles and relations, and the cases of use for decentralised solutions for the energy trade.
Tests in the SmartGrid Lab micronetwork
Before the implementation of the pilot projects, the resulting market platform will be tested in the SmartGrid Lab of CITCEA, which has successfully validated algorithms in previous European projects. SmartGrid Lab is a micronetwork that offers the opportunity to emulate various real elements (for example, photovoltaic panels, electric vehicles, batteries, etc.) and acts as a user or set of users in different situations of the electricity network.
As various emulated devices can be added, it is easy to scale up the analysed system and implement different cases of use to verify operation. The opportunity to use this facility makes it easier to test the solutions that are developed before they are tried out in a real environment. This reduces the impact on users and electricity systems.