The technological solution

The objective of the DEMAND project was to create an intelligent system capable of planning the management of loads of electrical users in one of the residential, tertiary, or industrial sectors, following decisions negotiated via the Internet with other users of the DEMAND community, in response to network support requests from the service provider or distribution system operator.

The DEMAND technology that makes all this concrete, supporting the user in providing specific types of services to the electricity network in aggregation with other users, consists of a hardware part – field probes, concentrator of field probes and Gateway – and of a software part – Energy Management System, or EMS, local (at the user side) and remote (on the Cloud) and the platform for the dynamic and decentralized virtual aggregation of users, called Virtual Aggregation Environment, or VAE.

The Gateway and the Local EMS forms the Energy Gateway, which is installed at the user dide and has the task of collecting data from smart meters / field probes (through the concentrator), sending them to the remote part of the EMS on the Cloud, translating the optimization plans received from the remote EMS into commands to be sent to the devices through the Gateway.

The main responsibilities of the remote EMS are:
• in response to a request for flexibility by the network operator, with an internal optimization process in the day before the day in which the flexibility should be provided (day-ahead), assessing the availability of user flexibility to be offered through aggregation with other users;
• determining the aggregate of users and the aggregate offer of flexibility to propose to the network operator;
• trying to keep faith with the flexibility promised, if the aggregate is chosen by the network operator for the provision of the service requested by it, and report in time any possible impossibility (intra-day).

The aggregation of utilities is facilitated by a virtual aggregation environment, or VAE, which, however, leaves the users responsible for providing the flexibility service. A reputation system, with the attribution of reliability credits to virtuous users, helps to enable a competition mechanism between possible candidate aggregates for the provision of the flexibility service required by the network operator.