Until now, advanced techniques for energy management are not yet applicable in the small scale like energy-positive buildings and neighbourhoods. This is a major issue for grid-connected regenerative energies whose capacity factor (relation average power/peak power) is typically in the range of 0.2-0.3. The existing grid is required to guarantee reliable operation of such energy-positive buildings and neighbourhoods at one hand.
On the other hand, stochastic energy sold back to the grid is of little (also financial) value because its availability cannot be guaranteed or predicted. This is a serious problem for both participation of energy-positive buildings in future energy markets because the “predictable” energy achieves much higher prices, and for the power network operators which have to deal with rising peak demands.
To conform to the European Council’s target of increasing to 20% the share of renewable energy sources by 2020, SmartCoDe enables small buildings and neighbourhoods to act as a ‘local grid’ of (intelligent) energy consumers and renewable energy providers. Local monitor, analysis, and control measures enable energy consumption / generation balancing.
The overall approach of the project SmartCoDe is to timely schedule the use of energy or switch energy using products (EuP) into standby if the customer process currently allows that. To enable the application of advanced energy management techniques in energy-positive buildings and neighbourhoods, infrastructure and methods are needed that specifically fulfil the requirements of such entities:
1) Low additional costs. Most households are not willing to spend money for energy management features of their heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC), electric lighting or white goods. According to internal market studies, an acceptable price for an embedded system that provides an additional feature is in the range of 3$ to 10$. This is also a price that is economically reasonable considering costs and savings. However, existing hardware for demand response management is by far more expensive.
2) Small size. To allow for the integration of energy management solutions in almost all kinds of household appliances, the integrated solution must be small in size. Size however is also the key to cost: the higher the integration (i.e. a very small chip with, best case, no additional discrete components) the lower the manufacturing costs. To allow integration into as many appliances as possible, advanced energy management must have a very small footprint (e.g. 1cm*2cm*2cm).
3) Communication infrastructure. In most households and offices there are no automation networks like DALI available that connect each individual consumer and can be reused for energy management. Details are discussed in section 0.
4) (Information) Security. The ability to remotely take influence on energy using products requires highest-grade information security. Integrity and authenticity of all data and commands are the most important requirements, followed by confidentiality and sophisticated access control. The system must offer robustness against malicious attacks and intrusion.
To achieve these requirements, ambitious research in the ICT domain is urgently required, because despite the availability of many methods in the large-scale grids, they have not yet found their way to application in smaller entities. The project SmartCoDe aims at filling this gap.