Providing flexibility to the grid by enabling VPPs to offer both fast and slow dynamics control services


With the dramatic growth of renewables, now is the time to revise the VPP concept. VPPs need to support not only the promotion of intermittent renewables (RES) but also the integration of all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) into the full scope of grid operations. Such a leap raises challenges: optimal combination of DER and RES in a new generation of VPPs is needed to jointly provide grid supportive flexibility with slow reaction time known from day-head and intra-day markets, as well as real-time reaction to provide fast frequency and inertial response and dynamic-phasor driven voltage control ancillary services. In a nutshell, in a DER-based power electronics-driven network VPPs need to play all the roles that synchronous machines play in a traditional system. Flexibility can be provided by going beyond electrochemical storage and exploring opportunities offered by Power2X or inverters. Demand Side Management or low-cost solutions such as Power2Heat could be deployed in a neighbourhood expanding the concept of VPPs to the concept of a Local Energy Communities. EdgeFLEX links technical solutions to societal expectations. Short reaction times can be addressed by 5G-powered edge clouds linking dispersed devices in near real-time. In this respect, a new concept of VPPs, with communications corresponding to multiple layers of dynamics, becomes possible. EdgeFLEX proposes a new architecture for VPPs deploying such a multi-layer solution, paving the way for a fully renewable energy system. VPPs are brought to a new level, enabling them to interact on markets offering various ancillary services to System Operators. EdgeFLEX will develop this next generation VPP concept and demonstrate it in the context of 3 field trials and lab tests. It will explore innovative optimisations, financial tools and business scenarios for VPPs and assess the economic and societal impact. It will actively work to remove barriers by contributing to standards and European level regulation.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Lorenzo Peretto

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell'Energia Elettrica e dell'Informazione "Guglielmo Marconi"

Ericsson Gmbh(Germany)

Other Participants:
Waterford Institute of Technology (Ireland)
ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna (Italy)
Centrul Roman Al Energiei - Cre (Romania)
B.A.U.M. Consult Gmbh (Germany)
University College Dublin, National University Of Ireland (Ireland)
Inea Informatizacija Energetika Avtomatizacija Doo (Slovenia)
Rheinisch Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen - Rwth (D) (Germany)
Alpiq Digital Ag (Switzerland)
Sww Wunsiedel Gmbh (Germany)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 4.999.747,50
Project Duration in months: 36
Start Date: 01/04/2020
End Date: 31/01/2023

Cordis webpage

Affordable and clean energy This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 883710 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 883710