PARITY is a project that revolves around a central theme described as “Pro-sumer Aware, Transactive Markets for the Valorization of Distributed flexibility enabled by Smart Energy Contracts”. With this definition, it is clear that blockchain technology is involved mainly because smart contracts are in the mix. In this project, Hive Power is responsible for implementing the blockchain Local Flexibility Market.
However, blockchain technology is not the only form of tech involved in PARITY. The IoT also has a significant role to play in this valorization process.
In simple terms, PARITY hopes to use blockchain technology and IoT to help conventional grids deal with the integration challenges of new RES by engaging end-users who will become effectively aware of prosumers to enable stable energy pricing.
What are the Objectives of PARITY?
The vision of PARITY focuses on implementing local energy sharing that helps with pricing and easing the stress on the grid as well as giving value to its flexibility sources such as EVs, heat pumps and batteries. It is also a new business model that puts prosumers on a pedestal, allowing the opportunity for energy exchange such as P2P energy trading and dynamic pricing.
This guarantees security and automation of operation through blockchain technology, smart contracts, demand-side management and the IoT.
How PARITY Works
Under the initial lab trial for PARITY, a smart contract scenario was created to monitor consumers’ energy consumption via their devices and, in turn, exchange this information with the blockchain, automatically deciding settlements and further actions. The Hosts included:
- IoT Gateways also acting as blockchain nodes
- Light devices
- HVAC devices
- Smart plugs
- Oracles; which served as a link between the physical world and virtual blockchain world
The Internet of Things (IoT) has an ecosystem involved in this project. Within this ecosystem is the IoT Gateway which is deployed on-premises with an Information Management cloud infrastructure that helps with data processing and persistence.
A gateway that enables communication between the Building WSN and the IoT cloud and ambient sensing, control and sub-metering data provision through multiprotocol gateway communicating with a wide variety of off-the-shelf sensors make up part of this ecosystem.
A few other critical elements of this ecosystem are:
- The Information Management cloud normalization.
- Semantic annotation.
- Compression of data and calculation of KPIs.
While within the blockchain ecosystem, PARITY Cosmos sidechain aims to interconnect with the Cosmos blockchain, support the market and smart contract aspect, and facilitate interconnection with other authorized off-chain parties through relevant interfaces.
The Oracles involved in PARITY are responsible for verifying and transmitting real-world events in a trusted and secure way by triggering smart contract transactions and retrieving anonymized data from specific prosumer service legal agreements (SLAs) to be used as key performance indicators to the blockchain smart contracts framework.
The Local Flexibility Market
Local flexibility of PARITY enables multiple uses across the board, like in prosumer apps that include informative billing and automated profiling. The Local Flexibility Market also runs on the Hive blockchain platform, while PARITY Oracles and DER dispatch are part of the multiple-use cases enabled by PARITY.
The Local Market design of PARITY follows a defining structure:
- Market participants which include Distribution System Operators (DSOs), prosumers, aggregators and market operators
- Instruments for providing flexibility such as market-based and control-based instruments (LEM & LFM)
- Market operator
- Local scope of the market
- Coordination between flexibility requesting parties
Two markets are introduced within this concept, the Local Electricity Market (LEM) and the Local Flexibility Market (LFM).
- LEM encourages P2P trading among prosumers and is operated by Local Electricity Market Operator (LEMO)
- LFM, however, activates flexibility for the needs of DSOs. Under this, the Explicit LFM design is a market platform operated by the Local Flexibility Market Operator (LFMO), while Implicit LFM market design is implicitly integrated into the LEM. DSOs can impose varying grid prices, and prosumers can react to this via their trades on the LEM.
The Roles of Stakeholders
Distribution System Operators have a traffic light concept that outlines their response to specific regulations within PARITY called the traffic light concept.
- BLACK means a grid outage, and at this stage, the DSOs disconnect everything in the constrained area for the safety of the grid
- RED means distribution grid is constrained; here, DSOs can override market-based contracts and perform direct load control
- YELLOW means the DSO has forecasted constraint violations; here, Implicit and Explicit LFM are activated
- GREEN means there are no constraint violations, and DSOs perform active grid monitoring
ESCOs (Energy service companies) are also stakeholders in PARITY because they focus on developing and building financing projects that save energy, reduce energy costs, and decrease the cost of maintenance and operation on the customers’ end. They offer improvements in energy efficiency based on a performance contracting method, so compensation for projects is directly linked to actual energy cost savings. In PARITY, ESCOs will enable fair pricing at all ends.
Risks and Barriers Encountered With PARITY
Obstacles that stand to hinder the fast adoption of PARITY include:
- Administrative barriers like lack of regulation and charging cost rules
- Standardization barriers like diversity and interoperability
- Trust barriers such as emerging technologies, security and privacy
- Technical barriers like networking and reliability
- Cost barriers such as pricing and margins
Pilot Sites And Use Cases
Pilot Sites have been spread across four European countries; Spain, Sweden, Greece and Switzerland. They range from office buildings, residential buildings to fuel stations for EV charging points.
There have been several use cases in PARITY, one of them focused on congestion management by DSO through the operation of LFM to increase DER penetration. The steps taken included detecting the network colour by DSO, activating LFM and mapping DER, which resulted in dynamic activation of flexibility in real-time to eliminate congestion.
PARITY is all about fairness and integration of all platforms and parties involved in the electricity distribution process. The project uses new-age technology to solve conventional and innovative challenges hoping to ease the stress in all quarters and improve sustainability. As Partners in the PARITY project, Hive Power understands the objective all too well and we’re seeking to chart a new course in the grid technologies industry.
When was the last time you received a costly electricity bill, and you wondered what you could do to spend less? Shall I run the washing machine on a different program? Maybe the dishwasher? What about my new plasma TV? And that cute ornamental fountain in the backyard that runs days and nights, how much does it cost me?
Energy prosumers are not exposed to the details of their electricity usage. They often don’t know the difference between switching all lights off and reducing the time using a hairdryer. They rely on professional operators to decide whether or not to invest in a photovoltaic system or an electric heat pump. This contributes to generating a feeling of impotence and non-importance when actively taking part in the fight against climate change.
A survey of 400 homes in Michigan found that the average resident wrongly believed that she/he could save twice as much money by reducing lighting than using less hot water. Building contractors report that it is easier to sell a new home with visible solar collectors on the roof than with a passive solar design, added insulation, and other less-visible features, even though the latter would save energy more cost-effectively. But because these features are invisible to human eyes, people are less likely to believe in their energy-saving potential.
Prosumers have zero visibility of what happens behind the curtains of their monthly energy bill. There is an apparent disconnection between how electricity is made and how it is socially perceived.
In a bid to provide a solution to these challenges, we developed a pioneering project in collaboration with AEM (Azienda Elettrica di Massagno) that is financed by EnergieSchweiz and Fondo Energie Rinnovabili of Canton Ticino.
We analysed the consumption profiles of about 9k residential consumers belonging to the Lugano region, using 15-minute sampled load profiles read from L+G E450 smart meters. From this analysis, we discovered that the challenges faced by most energy consumers are due to the following anomalies:
- Inefficient heat pumps: when a user’s heat pump excessively resorts to its auxiliary resistance to maintain indoor comfort during cold winter days.
- Unreasonable standby power: for example, when a user’s consumption never drops below 200 W for several days in a row (maybe that cute water fountain wasn’t so efficient after all?).
- Anomalous consumption trends: when the general long-term trend of a user’s energy consumption drastically increases.
- Unexpected power peak: short anomalous high peaks of consumption could help spot a faulty electrical device.
What is DrainSpotter?
DrainSpotter is a user-centric mobile app that we are developing thanks to this ambitious project. With the DrainSpotter app, any user can monitor their electricity usage over time, receive informative summaries of their consumer behaviour, and be automatically notified about anomalies detected by machine learning algorithms.
Hive Power hopes to educate and empower consumers by making them actively responsible for their own energy savings with this app. This app will soon be accessible to all residential users of AEM.
How can DrainSpotter Benefit Customers and DSOs?
The DrainSpotter app helps consumers reduce their energy bill thanks to personalised recommendations and reports. DSOs will benefit from a community of users that modify their behaviour towards a more energy-efficient attitude.
As an example, we estimated that if all AEM’s residential users got rid of excessive standby power that lies above 200 W for more than 14 days consecutively:
- AEM would deliver 10% less energy in total,
- 5% of customers would reduce their total energy consumption by at least 20%,
- and 4.2% of customers would save at least 500 CHF off their total energy bill over a period of 1.5 years.
In addition to the obvious economic benefits, the DrainSpotter app:
- will guide users in the early detection of faulty appliances and anomalies that could cost them a portion of their electricity tariffs.
- Will provide users with a smart solution for monitoring energy consumption in their households, keeping track of how their utility bills are calculated in real-time.
- Will create room for automatic support services by the DSOs, who can now offer expert advice and/or solutions to a user’s complaints using the data from the app.
- Will grant users access to clear and concise information on how their bills are generated.
Smart metering is not smart enough if it doesn’t provide smart solutions to energy consumers and DSOs. With the DrainSpotter app, they can enjoy great benefits and efficiency in energy consumption and distribution.
Aiming at decarbonising the energy systems of geographical islands, MAESHA will deploy the necessary flexibility, storage and energy management solutions for a large penetration of Renewable Energies. Cutting-edge technical systems will be developed and installed, supported by efficient modelling tools and adapted local markets and business frameworks. A community-based approach will be adopted to ensure the constant consideration of local populations’ best interests throughout the project.
Putting together 10 SMEs, 3 industrial partners, 2 universities and 6 public organisations from 9 countries, MAESHA gathers strong partners with the needed expertise to develop and disseminate relevant solutions for a universally beneficial energy transition on islands.
With its activities, MAESHA is expected to lead to at least 70% RE penetration and reach more than 90% of Mayotte’s population. Through its strong local implantation and the focus put on replication and dissemination activities, MAESHA will deeply modify insular energy features throughout Europe and its impacts will be felt far beyond the project’s framework.
Holistic energy forecasting of demand and generation
Pilot demonstrator in the Mayotte island
Energy transition to fossil-free renewable energy generation
Prosumer AwaRe, transactive markets for the valorisation of distributed flexibilITY enabled by smart energy contracts.
PARITY addresses the “structural inertia” of DGs by delivering a transactive flexibility framework that will increase durability and efficiency of the electrical grid, while simultaneously enabling the adoption of more RES through enhanced real-time control of DER Flexibility combined with novel Active Network Management functionalities.
Blockchain infrastructure for energy exchange
Pilot demonstrators in CH - GR - ES - SE
Integration of DSM, Power2Heat, and Vehicle2Grid
Lugaggia Innovation Community
The municipality of Capriasca installed a 30 kWp PV plant in the village of Lugaggia on the roof of the local kindergarten. The building is located on the edge of a residential area, mainly consisting of single-family houses. The self-consumption potential of the kindergarten is limited because most of the production takes place during school summer holidays when the local consumption is low.
AEM, the DSO serving the area, intends to promote the creation of a SCC named Lugaggia Innovation Community (LIC), connecting together the kindergarten and ten nearby houses.
The energy exchange inside the community will be compliant with existing laws regulating the Self Consumption Communities.
Help to assess the local flexibility potential and the different ways in which it could be exploited from a technical point of view.
Provide recommendations how to allow and facilitate the replicability and scalability of peer-to-peer self-consumption communities.
Evaluate the degree of knowledge or acceptance among the community stakeholders to be willing to participate in these new self-consumption communities; a living lab to test users’ acceptance will be set up.
Assess blockchain as a decentralized billing management method introduced by the utility.
Compare centralized vs decentralized load management methods from the DSO point of view (grid costs), energy consumption and economic point of view.
Multi-level Demand Response
Distributed generation technology, particularly PV, is at a financial competitiveness tipping point
Private/personal electric mobility is incepting, capital from the automotive industry is starting to flow
Energy storage solutions benefit from a decades-long history of continuous improvement of the technology, lately boosted by electric mobility
These updates in the rules of the game require a swift reaction from the industry. The pure, feed-forward, top-down model of the electric network involving central generation and peripheral consumption is not sufficient anymore.
Mulder, envisioning coordination.
The final consequence is a call for local coordination among agents in the grid and for an intelligent demand response. This comes with a burden of nontrivial control-theoretic questions to answer.
The common denominator of all frameworks for demand response is distrubuted optimization, given the unique scalability properties it can offer.
However, a realistic deployment scenario must take into account additional challenges:
To design and evaluate new business models favouring the grid-integration of decentralized energy resources
To encourage the active participation of citizens and the assumption of their new role of prosumers
To test the models in simulation and validate them in three pilot projects across Europe
To design and evaluate new business models we investigate:
Centralized utility management
Decentralized voltage/power based tariffs
Peer-to-peer market based on the Ethereum blockchain for energy transactions
Three demo sites
To evaluate our business models we venture out in: