D4.12: Community Grid Implementation Guide

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The deliverable D4.12: Community Grid Implementation Guide was submitted by MPOWER in September 2023 with contributions from LCCC, GKINETIC, ESBN and IES. The executive summary of the deliverable is available below and the full deliverable is at the end for download:

“Central to the Positive City Exchange strategy is the strategic nature of demand-side flexibility in enabling high levels of renewable generation and conversion in a Positive Energy Block and a Community Grid. Digitally controlled demand response mechanisms could harness a broad range of load management measures, such as direct or indirect load control, aimed at adapting end users’ consumption to local distribution network needs. The present report describes the work performed within the +CityxChange Task T4.7 Community Grid Implementation Guide.

Deliverable D4.12 documents the results of the implementation of the Community Grid in
Limerick and includes:

  • overview of what has been made of the necessary infrastructure
  • results of the Stakeholder Engagement
  • problems related to Grid Connection and Community Grid setup
  • prosumers integration in the Community Grid and related issues.

Due to regulatory obstacles that could not be overcome, the system enabling energy sharing and Community Grid could not be implemented. The Community Grid as described in D2.6 Framework for Community Grid Implementation1 will have to await the development of rules around peer to peer trading. Such a situation prompted the +Limerick project partners to reconsider the possibilities surrounding the formation of the DPEB, in particular the need for the DPEB buildings to be connected so that the energy exchange between the buildings can be realised and controlled. Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) may provide a viable model for the creation of DPEBs, ensuring additional production of renewable energy from larger but local sources, which would achieve a positive energy balance and enable the connection of REC members by sharing of the locally produced energy. DPEB would be enabled by the use of the existing community structure (SECs) and the proposed REC structure with its ability for energy sharing and the potential to generate a positive energy balance between members. The DPEB model is elaborated more in detail in deliverable D4.11.

What was intended and is needed is a significantly large body of willing prosumers operating as a Community Grid, under a purpose-built Regulatory Sandbox regulated by contract by a viable and functional Community System Operator. With viable economic incentive parameters included it would ensure that any unintended imbalance, or imbalances arising out of Demand Side Flexibility called on by DSO Flexibility needs/urgencies (or even TSO Level flexibility needs), are resolved in real time. This ease of dialogue and collaboration is what the EU is building through the Energy Community movement set out in the Clean Energy Package and RED II Directives. Community grids can develop this under the auspices, and contractual regulation and guidance, of a licensed Community System Operator (CSO). Community Grids, managed by CSO provide an intelligent and useful means of joint planning to reach the best possible improvement.

The engagement process was focused on property owners and potential prosumers who responded to the online questionnaire. An invitation to participate and a brochure were also prepared and sent to property owners as part of the prosumer engagement activities. The initial criteria for engaging with building owners agreed with the relevant project partners were based on willingness to participate and have a Smart Link Unit (SLU) installed in their buildings, suitability for the buildings on the basis of their current energy efficiency I.e. modern recently renovated buildings and cooperation with the project partners on the use of data collected from installed SLU and agreement to work with partners in researching and demonstrating solutions that would help make their buildings more energy efficient. Engagement process that was performed gave a list of the buildings that could be suitable for the expansion and formation of new DPEBs. During the SLU scoping visit preliminary scoping for the heating system was also done.

There have been difficulties in defining the technical requirements for the formation of a Community grid. The existing grid infrastructure with import capacity availability has greatly limited the possibilities of choice. Buildings in the same block are connected to different transformers which makes the obligation to ensure the grid stability much more difficult, require additional equipment, increases the cost, complicates and prolongs the process of establishing a safe and reliable Community Grid system.

At the core of the Community Grid concept and establishment is a Community System Operator (CSO). CSO was supposed to operate the local energy market as a pilot trial for the duration of the project under DSO supervision. Unfortunately no acceptable way for the formation of the CSO was found. The main reason was the absence of a regulatory mechanism that would enable the formation of such a local energy market entity. Part of the work that was done was related to the development of the Business model for the Community Grid and CSO. A list of the necessary equipment was made, both ICT equipment for the establishment of two-way communication, the Grid Stabiliser parts which are responsible for the stability of the power grid, and enerXchangeTM trading platform. The price of individual parts and the system as a whole is used for CSO profitability analysis in the D4.15 Limerick Energy Investment Models White Paper.”

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