Role of consumers in a renewable power system

Are you willing to support the integration of renewable energy? But are you willing to pay a higher electricity price for that? If you are willing to contribute to a greener energy supply, but not on the cost of your personal economy, then there may be yet another chance for you to help make a chance towards a greener tomorrow.

FoES forskningsprojekt - Flexibla el-kunders roll i ett framtida förnybart kraftsystem

We all know that we should shift towards a society of decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. By far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is found in the power generation sector. The industry has historically been based on fossil fuels (coal, lignite, oil and natural gas) that offer many short-term benefits such as a high energy density, good predictability and controllability.

The goal of the project

The goal is to use the given resources more efficiently in order to integrate renewable energy without increasing the cost for us as individuals. If we want to facilitate a renewable driven power system, the primary goal must be to synchronize generation and consumption at all times.

How can we as individuals support this goal?

There are several household appliances that consume a significant amount of energy, and that can be shifted to different times without impacting our comfort. Examples are dishwashers, laundry machines, tumble dryers, electric heating or heat pumps and in the future, electric vehicles. Several suppliers are already today labelling these devices with “Smart Grid ready”. That means that when the market will be in place, these devices are able to exploit their inherent flexibility and shift consumption to a more favorable time in order to promote renewable energy integration.

How would this work in practice?

Let us suppose you are leaving for work in the morning, around 8.00 h and get back home around 17.00 h. After breakfast, you fill the dishwasher and set it up to run. Instead of starting immediately, the dishwasher would decide by itself when it is most favorable to run, given that it needs to be finished by 17.00 h. This simple change would not impact our personal comfort, and yet have a major impact on power system operation when accumulating all available devices.

There are further appliances that offer even more potential than dishwashers: Residential electric heating alone can be changed by 7.4 GW, which amounts to roughly one third of the total Swedish power consumption.

In order to reach the point where we, as individuals, can contribute to balancing to renewable power system, and help mitigate carbon dioxide emission, we need to have a functioning market. This market is being shaped right now and we need more information about flexibility so that this market can operate optimally, like e.g.:

  • How much consumption can you shift to a later or earlier time?
  • How much financial compensation do you need to shift your consumption? Is this different for night and daytime? (time dependent elasticity)
  • When do you want your dishwasher, laundry machine, dryer, etc. to be finished?
  • If you don’t know, then: When will you know when you will need it?
  • When will you use your electric vehicle next?
  • What is your temperature comfort zone at home?
Our research provides insights into the time dependent elasticity of consumers. We investigate both the willingness (behavioral economics) and the capability (technical) of consumers to react to incentives from the system operator, and thus help to integrate renewable energy.

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Journal Articles

L. Herre, T. Matusevicius, J. Olausson, L. Söder, "Exploring Wind Power Prognosis Data on Nord Pool: The Case of Sweden and Denmark," IET Renewable Power Generation, 2019.

I. Dimoulkas, P. Mazidi and L. Herre, “GEFCom 2017: A simple neural network based approach to long-term probabilistic load forecasting," International Journal on Forecasting, 2018.

L. Haglund, T. Kovala and C. Lindh, “Managing complexity through business relationships: the case of the Swedish electricity market”, International Journal of Management and Decision Making Vol. 18 No. 2, 2019.

T. Kovala, F. Wallin and A. Hallin. “Factors influencing industrial excess heat collaborations”, Energy Procedia, 2016, 88: 595-599.

Conference Papers

L. Herre, J. Dalton, L. Söder, "Optimal Day-Ahead Scheduling of a Risk-Averse Electric Vehicle Aggregator," to be submitted to 13th IEEE PowerTech, Milano, 2019.

J. Dalton, L. Herre, L. Söder, "Exploring the Business Case of a Risk-Averse Electric Vehicle Aggregator in the Nordic Markets," in 2nd e-Mobility Integration Symposium, Stockholm, 2018.

L. Herre, J. Mathieu, L. Söder, "The Flexibility of Thermostatically Controlled Loads as a Function of Price Notice Time," in 20th IEEE Power System Computation Conference (PSCC), Dublin, 2018.

I. Dimoulkas, P. Mazidi, L. Herre, D. Khastieva, E. Nycander, M. Amelin, "A hybrid model based on symbolic regression and artificial neural networks for electricity load forecasting," to be submitted to 15th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM), Lodz, 2018.

L. Herre, T. Matusevicius and L. Söder, "Swedish Wind Power Forecasts: Procedure, Error Distribution and Spacio-Temporal Correlation," in 16th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power into Power Systems as well as on Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Power Plants, Berlin, 2017. (Best Paper Award)

L. Herre and L. Söder, "Enhancing market access of demand response through generation forecast updates," in 12th IEEE PowerTech, Manchester, 2017.

I. Dimoulkas, P. Mazidi and L. Herre, "EEM 2017 Forecast Competition: Wind power generation prediction using autoregressive models," in 14th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM), Dresden, 2017.

T. Kovala, ”This electricity price is too high for my household: Why are some households sensitive to the electricity price, when others barely are sensitive at all?” [POSTER], in IMIT PhD candidate poster competition @ 5th annual conference of ScAIEM 2017, Trondheim, 2017.

L. Herre, T. Kovala, L. Söder, C. Papahristodoulou, "A Study on the Flexibility of Electricity Consumers for the Swedish Context: Modelling, Quantification and Analysis of Notice Time," in Swedish Association for Energy Economics Conference 2016, Luleå, 2016.

L. Herre and L. Söder, "On the flexibility of electricity consumers: Introducing notice time," in 13th International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM), Porto, 2016.

T. Kovala, “Flexibla elkunders roll i ett framtida förnyelsebart kraftsystem – Hur kommer framtidens elkunder besluta om sin elanvändning?” [POSTER], in HUB 2016, Västerås, 2016.

T. Kovala, ”Deciding about electricity usage: A thesis on market incentives to steal focus from electricity consumers”, in Arctic PhD workshop at the 4th annual conference of ScAIEM 2016, Luleå, 2016.

F. Wallin, D Torstensson, T. Kovala, A. Sandberg, “Using an energy intervention framework to evaluate end-user willingness to participate in demand-response activities”, in IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) General Meeting 2016, Boston, 2016.

T. Kovala, F. Wallin and A. Hallin, “Factors influencing industrial excess heat collaborations”, in Applied Energy Symposium and Summit 2015 (CUE2015), Fuzhou, 2015.


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