European Commission boosting R&D in flexibility to tackle the EU challenges of the new energy markets

Increasing penetration of non-manageable renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power combined with the progressive electrification of the energy system are challenging how TSOs and DSOs manage the grid. The security and reliability of power systems are dependent on the matching the demand and supply of electricity in real time. This balance requires the supply or demand of electricity, or both, to be flexible. The bulk of flexibility in systems has almost exclusively been provided on the supply-side through the adjustable output of power plants such as gas-fired power plants. Flexibility on the supply-side increases not only emissions as power plants are required to operate at lower efficiencies below their rated capacity but also costs due to the high prices demanded in flexibility markets because of the opportunity cost of permanent availability.

Demand-side flexibility provided by energy storage technologies and manageable loads are now enabling TSOs and DSOs to accurately manage demand and provide both cost savings and emission reductions.

This article aims to characterize the Flexibility ecosystem fostered by the European Comission based on the analysis of their most relevant supported projects (i.e. involving a total investment of €270M or, in other words, 75% of the previously mentioned €370M).

i-deals has reviewed the most relevant H2020 funded projects and conducted an analysis identifying the main actors involved (from the technology developers to the end users), flexibility sources being tackled and real scale pilot sites among other insights.