In the last decade, the EU has been deploying significant amounts of DER1 of various technologies in response to the climate change challenge and the need to enhance fuel diversity. However conventional large-scale power plants remain the primary source of control of the electricity system assuring integrity and security of its operation.
Levels of DER penetration in some parts of the EU are such that DER is beginning to cause operational problems (Denmark, Germany, Spain). This is because thus far the emphasis has been on connecting DER to the network rather than integrating it into overall system operation. Indeed, previous and current research projects such as DISPOWER have been focusing on developing techniques to accelerate the deployment of DER, and rightly so as this has been a necessary phase in the evolution towards a sustainable electricity supply system.
In practice, current policy of connecting DER is generally based on 'fit and forget' approach. This policy is consistent with historic passive distribution network operation and is known to lead to inefficient and costly investment in distribution infrastructure. Moreover under passive network operation DER can only displace the energy produced by central generation but cannot displace the capacity as lack of controllability of DER implies that system control and security must continue to be provided by central generation.
We are now entering an era where this approach is beginning to:
Enhancing system security and reducing overall costs
Motivated by the wide range of challenges associated with operating the electricity system of the future, leading TSOs and DSOs, manufacturers and research establishments4 in the EU have formed a consortium of 18 partners to undertake a 4-year project codenamed FENIX whose overall aim is:
1 Distributed Energy Resources
2 Transmission System Operators
3 Distribution System Operators
4 IBERDROLA, EDF, REE, NGT, AREVA T&D, SIEMENS PSE, LABEIN, W2M, IDEA, ECN, ISET e.V., ILEX Energy, ZIV, ECRO, Scalagent, Korona, The University of Manchester and The Free University of Amsterdam