New R&D platform links together systems and users in smart grids

An important aspect of smart grids is the interaction between the behaviour of the users, the hardware in the grid and the actual electricity transmission. Changes in the need for balancing power and a growing number of electricity production sources in the system are only two of the challenges that a new sub-project in the investments in Norra Djurgårdsstaden will soon be facing.

The Energy Agency has decided to provide support for the Smart Grid in an Urban Environment in Norra Djurgårdsstaden Project in an amount of SEK 36.5 million. The support is for the development of an R&D platform for 170 new apartments fitted with system solutions for electricity use related to indoor climate, lighting, smart white goods and the charging of electric cars, and the visualisation of local energy generation from solar cells.

"The project is an important piece of the puzzle in the investments we are making in innovative system solutions within the power grid sector. Linking together consumer behaviour with known technology in complex systems is a difficult thing to do. For this reason, pilot tests – in a real system – will play an important role in the development of future energy systems," says Sten Åfeldt, Head of Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency.

In the project, user solutions will be combined with modern technology in the electricity grid such as new communication solutions and increased control and monitoring. One important goal is to study whether the electricity consumers in the pilot studies, with the aid of the new solutions, can reduce their carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis by approximately 200 kg per household.

"This project is an important activity in the journey we have embarked upon towards a solar economy," says Marie Fossum, Head of Business Development at Fortum. "If we are to make it possible for more renewable production, regardless of whether it is large scale or local, the entire energy system will have to be more flexible." ??

In an initial phase, the system will be assembled and tested. From 2013 to 2014, the apartments in the project will be occupied, and it will be possible for the system to be evaluated with different test models.

The Swedish Energy Agency has together with Vinnova previously provided support for a feasibility study for the project, which defined the platform and the various tests that are now planned to be carried out. Vinnova has, in addition, provided support for a project concerning "active building" in which techniques within the project in question are first tested on a smaller scale in an apartment in Norra Djurgårdsstaden. The Energy Agency is already funding the research programme SweGRIDS, which will be able to use the research platform in Norra Djurgårdsstaden for its research work.