Research Community and Research Promoters
To meet the ambitious 2020-2020-2020 targets, distribution systems will progressively evolve from passive to active networks. They will involve:
- the large scale deployment of smart meters;
- the further automation of distribution substations;
- the automation of control equipment whose penetration will facilitate the commercial aggregation of Distributed Energy Resources (DER);
- the integration of active demand solutions, involving smart appliances or systems owned by other customers.
This evolution will catalyse new DER business models, which will augment the value of DER brought to the whole electric system. These evolutions will benefit from parallel progresses in the Information and Communication Technology sector (telecom networks, sensors, automation, automatic control, etc). R&D at EU, national and regional level is needed along three complementary directions (technology-oriented, market-oriented, regulation and standards-oriented research activities), which will in turn allow standards and regulatory issues to be addressed in a more harmonised way.
- What are the most critical technology-oriented research topics to be launched?
- What are the most critical market-oriented research topics to be launched?
- What are the most critical regulation/standard-oriented research topics to be launched?
Future research topics will benefit from large scale experiments which will be undertaken over the coming years at national and EU level. Any initiatives which aim at making electricity consumption curves more responsive to the real-time status of the power system should be encouraged.
In parallel to significant scientific contributions, the EU-DEEP project has set up a framework to tackle the major issues raised by DER integration into the electricity networks
The EU-DEEP project proposes a systemic framework to face the major issues raised by Distributed Energy Ressources (DER) integration into existing electricity networks. Research activities have covered technology, market and regulatory aspects. The 180 project results are available in this book, thus providing:
- strong technical and economic foundations on to guarantee a sustainable development of DER,
- concrete examples of business cases applied to full scale experiments,
- recommendations for further expansion of business activities.
More than 130 papers and speeches were published during the 5 years of the project’s lifetime.
Considering Europe’s ambitious political targets, further research along with large-scale demonstrations are required at European and National levels
During the Third International Conference on Renewable and DER Integration organised by the EU-DEEP project together with the IRCD Cluster in Nice in December 2008:
- policy makers reaffirmed the ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions,
- the industrial stakeholders presented their first large scale experiments,
- the research community shared its most promising results.
The conference, which gathered about 300 participants from the whole value chain of DER and academics, clearly showed the improvement in the worldwide knowledge on DER integration since 2004, the convergence on the integration concepts developed in North America, Japan and Europe and the urgent need to deploy the resulting solutions to meet the ambitious 2020 targets. Based on the results of some major European projects, large-scale experiments are now needed in Europe to validate the multifaceted issues of DER integration into electricity networks. This multidisciplinary approach will continue both at national and EU levels, requiring new research topics associated with large-scale demonstrations needed to validate massive DER integration:
- how to reach the EU 2020 energy targets within affordable network investment costs?
- how to operate the resulting networks with reduced stability margins?
- how to favour customer participation thanks to real time price signals?
Future research programmes must encompass technical, market and regulatory challenges
EU-DEEP has demonstrated the need to perform research which combines technology, market and regulatory approaches. Future programs must encourage, and even reinforce, such joint approaches as described below.
Technical topics: the advent of smart metering, storage and low cost ICT provides new ways of integrating DER into networks:
- real-time monitoring and accurate prediction of consumption, generation and electricity prices, to enable stable network operation,
- network planning based on probabilistic approaches,
- integration of DER into standard network analysis procedures,
- active network control options and standar-disation,
- centralised versus decentralised control strategies of DER units,
- controllable energy sources where loads and storage devices contribute to system services and energy balance,
- electricity, heat and cooling storage,
- the role of electric and hybrid vehicles as storage, mobile and flexible loads.
Market-related topics: market-oriented research should encourage initiatives for improving the use of customer flexibility:
- innovative incentive mechanisms in support of DER investors,
- techniques to enhance the elasticity of demand by acting on incentives for customers (public and/or private support),
- novel aggregation techniques of small customers to enhance their impact onto the electricity market and system,
- smart metering to enhance load flexibility and energy efficiency,
- charging electricity with tariffs that reflect the marginal costs of electricity,
- development of accessible and understandable information for participants,
- new data standards to make them more accessible to market participants,
- management of the costs of ownership for DER units (extension of current ESCO businesses),
- evaluation of DER contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions, especially under peak load conditions.
Regulation and standards-oriented research topics: systemic approaches are required to maximise the impact on every European citizens:
- reliability and quality of supply-based regulations to favour DER deployment within harmonised frameworks over EU-27 for DSO’s and TSO’s,
- quality and safety issues induced by large-scale deployment of DER,
- regulatory options to encourage the combined use of electricity storage and distributed energy resources,
- coupling of electricity and transport regulations (plug-in hybrid cars),
- development of standards for DER (distributed generation and storage systems) interconnection to the network.