19 June 2021
FLEXIGRID Project - Preparing the electricity grid for the increase in renewable generation

 

Spring 2021


Making the grid more flexible, reliable and cost-efficient through the development of innovative solutions. This is the objective of FLEXIGRID European Project, led by the technology centre CIRCE from Spain and 8 million funded by the European Commission.

The project is putting into practice new tools to allow the distribution grid to operate in a secure and stable manner when a large share of variable renewable electricity sources is connected to low and medium voltage grids.

Concretely, the consortium of 16 partners that make up FLEXIGRID are working on the development of innovative hardware and software solutions to improve the power system flexibility by enhancing the grid hosting capacity of renewables; to increase the observability, controllability and automation of the network systems for the improvement of both the security and resilience of the grid; to mitigate short-term and long-term congestions in the distributed grid from an economically efficient point of view; and to ensure the interoperability and compatibility of the developed solutions with different platforms used by European DSOs.

 

To achieve these goals, FLEXIGRID is developing four hardware solutions, including the design of transformer substations of the future, a new generation of smart meters, new grid protection devices and a multi-function Edge-computing platform capable of controlling grid assets called Energy Box. In addition, the project is developing four additional software modules addressing fault location, selfhealing, forecasting, operation and congestion management of the grid, and optimisation of thermal energy storage. Finally, a common platform including all the necessary protocols and standards to integrate the mentioned solutions with the DSOs platforms is being developed.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of these solutions, FLEXIGRID is implementing them in eight uses cases which are being demonstrated in four demo-sites: a rural and periurban network in the Spanish grid, a hotel in the Greek Island of Thassos; an urban grid in the city of Zagreb accounting congested areas and an isolated valley in the South-Tyrol region of Italy with more than 50% of hydroelectric energy.

Moreover, the project will help to identify and analysing, through constant monitoring of the legislation, the obstacles to innovation under the current local and European regulatory framework. Last but not least, FLEXIGRID partners wish to raise awareness among citizens and other relevant stakeholders on the transition towards a low carbon economy, considering them as active players within the energy system.

The main impacts expected as a consecuence of the implementation of the solutions developed and tested in FLEXIGRID Project are improvements in stability and flexibility of dictribution networks; renewable energies curtailments decreasing; reduction of reinforcements required in the grids, increase in capabilities to manage future energy loads and CO2 emission savings.