Image: Markus Breig

DigI­Plat devel­ops basis for inter­ac­tion of transna­tion­al ener­gy platforms

For more secu­ri­ty of sup­ply in the inter­na­tion­al ener­gy mar­ket, the research project “Dig­i­tal Solu­tions for the Inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of Flex­i­bil­i­ty Plat­forms (DigI­Plat)” by the Ulm Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Sci­ences (THU) togeth­er with part­ner insti­tu­tions from the DACH region is devel­op­ing basic prin­ci­ples for the inter­ac­tion of transna­tion­al ener­gy platforms.

The ener­gy tran­si­tion aims to make Europe car­bon neu­tral by the mid­dle of the cen­tu­ry. This is accom­pa­nied not only by a fur­ther expan­sion of pow­er gen­er­a­tion from renew­able sources, but also by the decen­tral­iza­tion of ener­gy resources and the cou­pling of dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the ener­gy sys­tem. The inte­gra­tion of mar­ket par­tic­i­pants offer­ing flex­i­ble capac­i­ty for gen­er­a­tion, stor­age and load shift­ing requires scal­able dig­i­tal flex­i­bil­i­ty plat­forms. How­ev­er, stan­dards for such plat­forms, inter­op­er­abil­i­ty, and spec­i­fi­ca­tions of flex­i­bil­i­ty require­ments have yet to be defined. These are the ques­tions addressed by the research project “Dig­i­tal Solu­tions for Inter­op­er­abil­i­ty of Flex­i­bil­i­ty Plat­forms (DigI­Plat)”, which is receiv­ing fund­ing from the three par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries and from the Euro­pean Union as part of the “Hori­zon 2020” research and inno­va­tion pro­gram until April 2025.

The project is coor­di­nat­ed by the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty of Ulm (THU) with the fol­low­ing part­ner insti­tu­tions from the Germany/Austria/Switzerland (DACH) region: the elec­tric­i­ty trans­mis­sion sys­tem oper­a­tors Transnet BW and Aus­tri­an Pow­er Grid AG (APG), the Aus­tri­an Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (AIT), Ficht­ner IT Con­sult­ing, the Karl­sruhe Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy (KIT), and the Insti­tute for Oper­a­tions Research and Com­pu­ta­tion­al Finance (ior/cf-HSG) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of St. Gallen.

The main objec­tive of the DigI­Plat research project is to iden­ti­fy mea­sures for the imple­men­ta­tion, adap­ta­tion and knowl­edge trans­fer of stan­dard­ized dig­i­tal solu­tions for the inter­ac­tion of transna­tion­al flex­i­bil­i­ty markets.
Build­ing on this, an inter­na­tion­al plat­form is to be devel­oped on which the transna­tion­al flex­i­bil­i­ty mar­kets can coop­er­ate in order to con­tin­ue to main­tain the secure sup­ply of elec­tric­i­ty at a high lev­el inter­na­tion­al­ly. The project will there­fore define a stan­dard­ized frame­work and tech­ni­cal­ly eval­u­ate cur­rent­ly exist­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty plat­forms with broad stake­hold­er par­tic­i­pa­tion and pro­to­types. The eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits will be eval­u­at­ed in a mar­ket mod­el to be devel­oped that includes intra­day and bal­anc­ing mar­kets as well as redis­patch and a com­mon grid model.

The multi­na­tion­al research col­lab­o­ra­tion aims to make dis­trib­uted ener­gy resources (DER) flex­i­bly acces­si­ble to trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem oper­a­tors on scal­able dig­i­tal plat­forms. It is about small and medi­um gen­er­a­tion, con­sump­tion or stor­age com­po­nents such as domes­tic bat­tery stor­age that can be cou­pled with pho­to­volta­ic sys­tems, small hydropow­er plants, heat pumps or even the com­bined bat­tery capac­i­ty of many elec­tric cars.
The exchange of offered flex­i­bil­i­ty poten­tial between plat­forms and coor­di­nat­ed acti­va­tions across mul­ti­ple volt­age lev­els or mar­ket areas will help ensure grid sta­bil­i­ty and pro­mote eco­nom­i­cal­ly effi­cient and trans­par­ent allo­ca­tion of flex­i­bil­i­ty, both nation­al­ly and internationally.

While var­i­ous plat­forms have already been devel­oped in the recent past by research ini­tia­tives or as flag­ship projects by trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem oper­a­tors, inter­na­tion­al stan­dards for flex­i­bil­i­ty plat­forms and stan­dard­ized flex­i­bil­i­ty require­ments have yet to be defined. These are crit­i­cal to achiev­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between plat­forms at the nation­al and inter­na­tion­al lev­els, enabling bet­ter coor­di­na­tion of ver­ti­cal and hor­i­zon­tal mar­ket inte­gra­tion, and opti­miz­ing the allo­ca­tion of flex­i­bil­i­ty between platforms.

All this is nec­es­sary to make the trans­for­ma­tion of the ener­gy sys­tem safe for the econ­o­my, soci­ety and indus­try for Europe.