The flexibility of smart grids will be essential to maintain an affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity supply in the coming years. Through this flexibility, smart grids can ensure the most efficient sourcing and use of energy throughout the day. However, with no previous hands-on experience, how can the industry, and society in general, make sure it is making the right choices in implementing smart grids?
As with any design challenge, the best way to discover its full capabilities and how best to use them is through a prototype. In this case the prototype needs to replicate a city, albeit on a small-scale, to explore the future of energy (electricity, gas and heat) infrastructures. Run by a DNV GL-led consortium of leading players in the Dutch energy industry and academia, PowerMatching City was Europe’s first smart grid field trial. It comprised a living, breathing smart community of 25 to 40 households at Hoogkerk near Groningen, the Netherlands. The project ran from 2009 until 2015. Phase 1 focused on technical feasibility of smart grids. Phase 2, explored the smart grid-based energy services that could add value for consumers, the energy industry and communities. For example, the project produced invaluable insight on how consumers want to use smart appliances and the need to express sustainability in a way that engages consumers. It also highlighted the importance of so-called aggregators in unlocking the flexibility of smart grids.
DNV GL’s role
- Project management and coordination
- Conceptual design
- Supporting consortium partners to realize solution
- Results analysis
- Creating PR including videos, website , press articles, et cettera
As project coordinator, DNV GL brought comprehensive expertise from a range of fields to the PowerMatching City demonstration project. In particular, we focussed on bringing partners together to make their own contribution and achieve collective and individual goals. Moreover, the consortium’s promotional efforts were very well received, ensuring the project got received a lot of exposure including a high number of visits from all over the world. This helped drive the global conversation on smart grids.