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FLEXCoop, how does it work?

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FLEXCoop aims at facilitating the energy transition. It is a set of tools - physical ones like the Open Smart Box, but mostly softwares - automating your electricity consumption and making sure energy is consumed at the best time for you and for the grid. Here is an overview of the functioning of the overall FLEXCoop solution and of the role of each module.

You can read more about the project (“What is FLEXCoop?) and the role of flexibility and cooperatives (“Why FLEXCoop”) in our past Newsletter (link).

Enabling two-side communication

Within each participating household, FLEXCoop connects to sensors and devices through the Smart Box, enabling two-sides communication, from the home to FLEXCoop and from FLEXCoop back to the user:

  • FLEXCoop gathers information related to the house/apartment environment (temperature, illuminance, air quality and occupancy), as well as connected devices operation and sends it to its analytical tools;
  • FLEXCoop will then share this information with the users through in an illustrated manner on the Prosumer App.
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Enabling residential demand response

The main feature of FLEXCoop is to enable renewable energy cooperatives (REScoops) to use their members flexibilities in order to help them consuming at the best time. On this regards, cooperatives are playing the role of aggregators, acting as intermediary between their members and the energy system.

Thanks to the FLEXCoop solution, the REScoops can induce different consumption schedules to their members devices enabling them to answer to request from the grid: consuming when there are more renewables, maintaining grid balance at 50 Hz or supporting congestion management. The prosumers will be able to chose their preferred approach thanks to the FLEXCoop Marketplace. The Marketplace will facilitate contracting, and enable aggregators to find interested prosumers and prosumers to opt for their preferred approach.

FLEXCoop’s modules

FLEXCoop is built out of different modules were each one plays a particular role.

  • the Middleware acts as a central communication hub between all components. The Middleware also plays a key role in data security through authentication and management of access rights. This module is led by CIMNE.
  • Another core component of the architecture is the Open Smart Box. The OSB is a smart hardware device operating as a real-time monitoring sensor. It gathers ambient sensor information and usage data which are used by the forecasting and profiling components. These components enable FLEXCoop to determine the flexibility that can be offered for each household without reducing the comfort of the inhabitants. This module is led by Grindrop and Hypertech.
  • Two visualization toolkits provide access to data, contracting and status of the Distributed Energy Resources (DER) (e.g. heat-pumps, PV panels or water boilers).
    • The Prosumer Visualisation Toolkit enables the Prosumer to monitor the status of its connected DERs as well as its current contracting options and demand response events triggered by the Aggregator. This module is led by Suite5.
    • The Visualization Aggregator Toolkit on the other hand provides views, specific for the Aggregator role. It supports the Aggregator by its task to balance demand and production and visualizes the contractual offers to the Prosumers. This module is led by ETRA.
  • The Open Marketplace and the DER Registry are the background services that enable contracting and DER device handling inside the FLEXCoop architecture. All connected DERs report their status to the DER registry. The Open Marketplace is the core component for contracting. It combines the available flexibility options with the connected DERs into contracts between Aggregator and Prosumer. This module is led by Fraunhofer.

Each module plays a key role and holds the know-how of a different partner. We are now impatient to be able to test it with our pilot users in Spain and in the Netherlands!