Distributed P2P Energy Grid – One Way to 100 % Renewable Generation Based Energy System
Updated: Jan 21
Urgent environmental concerns have given birth to the slow but massive transformation of the global energy system. The zero-marginal cost of renewable energy is steering the system towards radically new possibilities while researchers and developers in Finland and around the globe explore how the electricity grid can be modernized towards the so-called Smart Grid.
Innovators at the University to Oulu seek to connect the electricity grid with communication networks and automation and to define novel mechanisms for energy market systems and structures. “We need solutions where the flexibility in the energy demand helps to match with the supply,” says professor Ari Pouttu who leads 6G Flagship’s “Smart Energy Grids” team. “These types of technologies are capable of balancing the unsteady supply of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.”
One promising approach is the introduction of a virtual power plant. A large number of small micro-generation units can be aggregated into one larger entity, which can then enter the energy market – sell and buy energy from the wholesale market. “The virtual power plant is an approach that we are about to trial in the BCDC project,” Pouttu says. “The production units are connected with 5G and real time data of the production is available. Coupled with accurate local weather estimates the day ahead, we can estimate the production and enter the market. On the other hand, the real time production values give us tools for handling the balancing market.”
Flexible demand in Smart Grids was analysed in Florian Kühnlenz' doctoral thesis, which was published in October within the BC-DC project. "His results show that there is a definite need to study the energy system as a whole," Pouttu says. "Emergent behaviour between the interconnected layers of system may affect each other in an unpredicted ways. For example, the peak consumption control/shifting by price signals only do not always lead to desired outcome eventhough so often proposed in literature or even marketplace."