Resilient prosumer scenario in a changing regulatory environment - The UniRCon solution

Mihai Sanduleac, Irina Ciornei, Mihaela Albu, Lucian Toma, Marta Sturzeanu, João F. Martins

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Technological developments are pushing for new solutions based upon massive integration of renewable electricity generation in networks already facing many challenges. This paper presents a novel approach to managing the energy transfer towards prosumers making use of smart management of local energy storage. The proposed design (including storage dimensioning) is based on several operating scenarios in which the prosumer might operate as: (i) a "load only" entity (from a grid perspective), thus exhibiting investment resiliency against regulatory changes and high energy efficiency; or (ii) a prosumer, in case regulatory opportunistic profit might be available. This can be realized within a newly proposed Uni-directional Resilient Consumer (UniRCon) architecture. The major aim of the proposed architecture is to achieve optimal self-consumption while avoiding curtailment even in a changing regulatory environment like, for example, the total lack of incentives for generation based on renewable energy sources (RES). One of the major advantages of the proposed architecture consists in the adaptability to changes in the regulatory and market environment. The term resilience is used with multiple meanings: (a) the prosumer's financial resilience against regulatory changes when investment calculations assume no-grid injections; (b) the prosumer's technical resilience, with electrical design based on standalone operation; (c) the resilience of clusters of interconnected end-user installations with enabled community-level electricity exchange, independent of the existing main grid supply; (d) the contribution to grid resilience, by enabling AC microgrid (MG) operation in island mode when large portions of the grid are formed by clusters of UniRCon prosumers (the ease of islanding segmentation of the local grid in case of emergencies). For proof of concept, three use-cases are detailed: (i) photovoltaic (PV) installations connected behind the meter; (ii) PV and storage available and controllable behind the meter; and (iii) the UniRCon architecture. The three use-cases are then compared and assessed for four near-future timelines as starting points for the investment. Numerical simulations show the attractiveness of the UniRCon solution in what concerns both system operation costs and supply resilience. Savings are expressed as opportunity savings arising from difference in tariffs while charging and discharging the storage unit and due to the avoidance of curtailment, as well as special taxes for the connection of PV (depending on regulatory environment). An extension of the UniRCon concept is presented also at community scale, with neighbourhood energy exchange inside a resilient cluster.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1941
JournalEnergies
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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Keywords

  • Energy community
  • Net metering
  • Planning
  • Prosumer
  • Regulation
  • Resilience
  • UniRCon

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