ProjectEnergy strategies and markets

The increase in renewable energy poses new challenges for the energy system in Belgium. Specifically, the transmission system operator will require new products and services to ensure the security of supply and stability of the system. New flexibility services will also be increasingly provided by flexibility sources linked to the distribution network. In particular, low-voltage flexibility will gain influence in the coming years, driven by the shift from passive end-users to active grid users who can provide flexibility individually or collectively to support security of supply and network stability.

The ALEXANDER project analyses and utilises a number of innovative concepts, models, and algorithms aimed at enhancing the understanding and use of low-voltage flexibility for system services (both long-term and short-term). The project primarily seeks to develop a better understanding of the heterogeneity of end-users’ preferences given the context of participating in and utilising demand response for delivering system services. The acquired insights are then used to adapt the current models for analysing security of supply. Additionally, the specific preferences of end-users are used to develop innovative and consumer-oriented concepts and algorithms for active operational grid management (in terms of maintaining system balance). These algorithms, which enable safe grid operation, build upon and create a unique innovative combination of the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, big data, and power systems engineering. The potential impact of the developed innovations within ALEXANDER is then examined at the level of Belgium, taking into account the specific context of different regions (network status, available flexibility sources, urban versus rural, etc.). The roles of both commercial entities and grid operators are analysed within the framework of new models, services, and processes to support security of supply and network stability. The ALEXANDER project develops an integrated framework for a better understanding and active utilisation of low-voltage flexibility, incorporating models, system services, market integration, and system coordination among grid operators.

The ALEXANDER consortium consists of partners from Wallonia, Flanders, and Brussels. The project coordination is handled by VITO. The other EnergyVille partners include KU Leuven, UHasselt, University of Antwerp, UMons, and ULB. The project has a duration of 4 years.

In addition to project coordination, VITO is responsible for 1) mapping user behavior, 2) developing innovative market concepts, 3) simulating new products, services, and forms of collaboration between grid operators, and 4) developing tools for distribution grid operators in the context of congestion management.

Helena Gerard, Senior Researcher at EnergyVille/VITO

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