Metering & Smart Energy International - demand response
A family showing the smart control of a washing machine to the Flemish Minister of Energy Annemie Turtelboom

Whenever assessing the business case for rolling out smart meters, a crucial question is which applications will be using the meter, writes Pieter Vingerhoets, a postdoctoral researcher for Energyville, a Belgium research initiative. 

One of these applications is demand response, where consumption is shifted in time towards periods with more renewable energies.

In many European member states, demand response is already performed for very large industrial consumers, usually contracted by the TSO as reserve capacity.

For residential consumers however, such a system is not commercially available yet. In-home management systems represent a rapidly growing market opportunity, with many companies pursuing comfort by visualizing consumption data at appliance level and thereby realizing energy saving.

However, systems that shift consumption away from peak hours by, for example, reacting to time-varying prices are not yet introduced in the market. In many European member states, there is no regulatory incentive for the customer to shift his consumption. Simple day-night tariffs are not adapted to the integration of renewables, which typically peak during the afternoon.

In addition to time-varying prices, other future possibilities exist to benefit from residential flexibility, like balancing the portfolio of a balancing responsible party or preventing local congestion in the grid.

This is exactly what the Flemish project ‘Linear’ investigated in a large-scale pilot with 250 families in Flanders.1 Partners in the project covered the entire value chain, with research institutes like Energyville, iMinds and Laborelec, the two DSOs Eandis and Infrax, the energy supplier Luminus, the in-home management systems of Fifthplay, suppliers of home appliances and other stakeholders.

Set-up and measurement

The families participating in the Linear project were equipped with one or more smart appliance: washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, domestic hot water buffers and electric vehicles.

The households received a price reduction when purchasing the devices. Six EV’s were distributed among the participants, changing ownership throughout the project. Almost half of the households had a smart meter. The Home Energy....

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