Some of Europe’s biggest Transmission System Operators (TSO) have collaborated to launch a new, blockchain-based flexibility platform, Equigy.
It is designed to allow the integration of small and distributed consumer-based assets, such as electric vehicles (EVs), to play a role in the balancing process.
Consumers will be able to use Equigy to earn money by flexing their interaction with the electric grid via an aggregator. This will help enable greater integration of intermittent renewables into the grid by increasing the TSOs ability to balance generation through flexibility.
Currently three TSOs - Swissgrid, TenneT and Terna - are launchin the platform in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Additionally, Denmark’s Energinet has expressed an interest in joining the consortium, which would further extend the rollout.
Equigy is designed to be non-exclusive and can work with other balancing systems. This helps to provide a viable collective approach, said the consortium, offering standardisation, a common approach from TSOs with neutral governance and the opportunity for scaling-up.
Rene Kerkmeester, initiator and programme director of Equigy explained that as Europe looked to transition to renewable power, something was needed to help manage the volatility of weather-dependent power as large amounts of electricity can't yet be stored.
“In many countries, we are therefore still reliant on fossil fuels to balance the grid when renewable sources aren’t available. This is not good for the planet and it’s costly. Equigy offers a sustainable and cost-effective solution to this challenge.”
The technology and software is being offered free of charge, with the TSOs saying they have no commercial interest in the project but wish to facilitate the market and help bring more renewables onto the system.
Equigy is scalable, and the consortium hopes that more countries will be able to join the projects, creating a bigger available pool of flexible and green electricity.
The importance of flexibility has become increasingly apparent throughout the world, and has recently been thrown into light by the falling demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the UK, whilst progress has been made to advance the flexibility of the grid including through the Balancing Mechanism and increasing use of demand side response, uncertainty remains. National Grid ESO’s Power Responsive Demand Side Flexibility annual report for 2019 found that changes to the network charges had harmed flexibility.