Pier Nabuurs,
CEO, Kema
 
Arnhem, The Netherlands --- (METERING.COM) --- March 23, 2010 - The “PowerMatching City,” located in Hoogkerk, the Netherlands has gone live, becoming the first microgrid project in Europe to integrate a full-scale, operational “smart” residential community energy system.

The community, which has been created by the utility Essent in partnership with the Dutch energy research center ECN, advanced software company Humiq, and consultant Kema,  includes 25 interconnected residential homes equipped with micro-cogeneration units, hybrid heat pumps, PV solar panels, smart meters, smart appliances and electric vehicles.

In this way the homes form a virtual power plant. In addition, as well as generating their own electricity, they are connected to a wind farm, so that the network integration of renewable energy can be studied. Since the supply of renewable energy does not always match the demand, a coordination mechanism is used, making use of the PowerMatcher technology, which uses multi-agent systems technology and electronic markets to automatically balance demand and supply.

The project, which officially went live on March 10, is the culmination of a two-year planning, implementation, and residential technology and equipment installation process.

The project seeks to develop a market model for a smart grid, creating an industry reference standard to help enable wide-scale smart grid implementation. In the live phase, research into the community members’ energy use behavior will be undertaken to gain insight into the “smart” energy consumer. Data will be collected on how, how much and when electricity is used and analyzed to explore consumer willingness to exchange comfort for flexibility based on financial incentives.

“The energy supply system of the future will be very different from what we are currently used to,” said Pier Nabuurs, CEO of Kema. “The amount of our energy that comes from renewable sources will continue to increase. At the same time, there will be changes in the pattern of demand. And the energy infrastructure has to be ready for these developments.”

The project is receiving support from the European Union and Gasunie.