The European project entitled "Mas2tering" exploits the Multi-Agent System (MAS) paradigm of Artificial Intelligence in the context of low-voltage (LV) power grids for residential customers to develop technologies that will empower cyber-secure active demand response (DR) in domestic and small-scale commercial applications. Mas2tering is an acronym that stands for "Multi-agent systems and secured coupling of telecom and energy grids for next generation smart grid services."
MOTIVATION & APPROACH
Evidence suggests that residential flexibility will dominate EU demand response potential by 20301 – but is (as of today) the least utilized and least available source of flexibility due to its decentralized nature, technological and regulatory barriers, which in turn provide the motivation to empower consumers to act, make smart home and networks a reality and to ensure data protection and participation in fair and transparent market-based offers. If the potential of residential flexibility can be unlocked then some of the concerns about electrification, renewables and grid reliability would be addressed while simultaneously increasing consumer choice opening new business collaboration opportunities. As such, Mas2tering enables consumers and prosumers alike with smart devices to participate in sharing electricity within the local community (low-voltage grid) through small to large flexibility aggregators – all powered up by a set of business models, developed in close collaboration with key industry stakeholders.
INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGIES BEING DEVELOPED BY MAS2TERING, KNOWN AS THE "MAS PLATFORM"
- Energy Boxes of Telecom Italia S.p.A for connecting home smart appliances with the smart meter and acting as gateway to the rest of the grid
- MAS optimization framework for algorithms that enable decentralized fl exibility management, developed by The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)
- Real-time weather, energy generation and load forecasting for individual houses to LV grid developed by Cardiff University
- Early warning system for cyber security monitoring, developed by Airbus Cybersecurity
Deliberate and cutting edge, a MAS approach means that decisions are taken by "agents," e.g. the devices themselves in a cost-effective manner using optimization algorithms. A MAS Platform is then used to coordinate the DR actions of the agents in its domain.
INNOVATIVE BUSINESS MODELS FOR DEPLOYMENT OF THE MAS PLATFORM AND PROSUMER COMMUNITIES
To utilize the MAS Platform and make it a viable business opportunity, local aggregators will manage the fl exibility provided by prosumers belonging to the same community, enabling local LV flexibility management and in turn supporting higher-voltage (industrial) grid-connected parties by softening peaks & troughs. This local aggregator employs a multi-sided business model connecting prosumers, energy retailers and distribution system operators (DSOs) in the LV grid. Early adopters of this disruptive business model are likely to be incumbent utilities and/or telecoms competing for customer base retention or acquisition. Moreover, the MAS Platform and its associated business models allow existing energy aggregators to extend their existing (industrial/commercial) flexibility portfolios "down" to the residential level.
INITIAL RESULTS OF MAS²TERING AND NEXT STEPS FOR MAS PLATFORM COMMERCIALIZATION
- Local balancing saves up to 10% of LV grid losses and supports deferral of investment for grid reinforcement
- Prosumers can save up to 30% of their energy cost (as a function of available flexibility)
- The solution allows up to 20% higher renewable hosting capacity of the grid
- Local optimization of flexibility can be easily integrated into existing energy market mechanisms
What's next? Mas2tering has focused on a restricted part of the grid and on planning and validating the optimal use of local flexibility with a market mechanism compatible with day-ahead and intraday energy markets. Next steps are to extend the MAS Platform capabilities to the operational phase (close to real time) and to integrate it into larger portions of the grid.
1. "Impact Assessment Study On Downstream Flexibility, Price Flexibility, Demand Response & Smart Metering – Final Report", EU Commission DG Energy, July 2016
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 619682