The name of the project FLEXICIENCY comes from its dual objective: to bring together flexibility and efficiency with the European energy market, putting a focus on customers and using smart meters to their fullest potential. The initiative, which was recently launched at an official presentation in Rome, is funded by the European Commission's Horizon2020 research programme, and is coordinated by Enel Distribuzione.
Eighteen partners from 10 EU countries will participate in the project, including four of the continent's leading Distribution System Operators: in addition to Enel, taking part the project are the French company ERDF, the Swedish company Vattenfall and Spain's Endesa Distribución.
The mission of FLEXICIENCY – which has a total budget of €19.1 million, of which €13.9 million is financed by Brussels – is to create new opportunities in the energy business and expand the role of DSOs as facilitators of news services. As neutral players in the market, they can support the creation of new business opportunities and innovative services for end users, based on consumer data collected by smart meters. The goal is to contribute to the achievements of 2020 energy consumption and CO2 emissions targets through the modernisation of distribution networks and the implementation of new policies and market regulations that promote the creation of smart grids. Increasing renewable micro-generation and production shares within local networks will see costs cut and the ground prepared for shared benefits.
'FLEXICIENCY is a very important project that aims to create a virtual European market place, where the data collected by distributors through smart meters, traders and retailers is available to those who want to offer services to customers,' said Paola Petroni, Head of Network Technologies at Enel Distribuzione.
The initiative will feature the creation of five large-scale demonstration projects. Four of these will be built in countries where smart metering systems are already present: Italy, Spain, France and Sweden. The fifth pilot plant will be built by Verbund in Austria, a country that does not have a smart metering system. The demonstration project will be installed in different technological and market conditions, and it will therefore be possible to assess how the data received from the distributor in real time (with the customer's consent), can enable the development of innovative services, ranging from the monitoring of energy consumption and management to flexibility services.
The Italian demonstration project, which was developed by Enel Distribuzione in cooperation with Enel Energia and Siemens Italia, will involve 5,000 customers in the Milan area. The users will be provided with advanced monitoring services, thanks to the Enel Smart Info device, while the Active Energy Management system developed by Enel for its Expo 2015 smart grid will collect all of the meters' data, which will in turn be made available to customers or third parties via a web application.
The Spanish pilot will be managed by Endesa Distribución, with the development of value-added services for end users in Malaga. The distribution system will be updated and coordinated with Endesa Energia's commercial structure, using a series of new interfaces from different service management platforms, such as distribution, services and market.