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The innovative solutions for the use of flexibility in the power system

Ravne - control center (photo: X-flex)

Publish Date: 04.05.2023

Category: Our contribution to sustainable development goals

Sustainable development goals: 7 Affordable and clean energy, 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 11 Sustainable cities and communities, 12 Responsible consumption and production, 13 Climate action, 17 Partnerships for the goals (Indicators)

The increasing share of renewable distributed energy resources (DERs) in the power system is becoming a key for the decarbonization of the European energy sector and thus achieving the EU's energy and climate change policy objectives. The variability and uncertainty of the DERs generation present significant risks and challenges related to the stability and reliability of the entire interconnected European power system, as well as national and even small local networks while opening new opportunities for the development of new energy concepts and solutions.

The main objective of the research project X-FLEX founded by the European Commission is to facilitate the use of flexibility with the aim to increase the utilization of the existing power system infrastructure. With the increased strain on the power system, (heating by heat pumps, the increasing use of electric vehicles, users' tendencies for self-sufficiency, etc.) the existing power system infrastructure may not be able to provide reliable and uninterrupted power supply as it is expected today. In the power system, flexibility means the ability to change consumption or generation patterns in order to provide a service to the system. To exploit flexibility, integrated technical solutions are needed to enable the optimal use of decentralised flexibility sources, both on the generation and on consumption side. Simultaneously, these solutions will facilitate the transition to a low-carbon society and at least partially limit the need for large financial investments in power system infrastructure.


Ravne - CHP (photo: X-Flex archive)

The X-FLEX project, being part of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (H2020), started in October 2019 and will end in September 2023. The total worth of the project is €9.5 million, of which €7.3 million is co-funded by the H2020 Framework Programme. The project involves 12 partners from different European countries including three partners from Slovenia; Petrol, Elektro Celje and the University of Ljubljana. The rest of the partners come from Spain, Cyprus, Austria, Greece and Bulgaria. University of Ljubljana is the technical coordinator of the project responsible for the development of the MARKETFLEX tool, a tool that combines a market platform and new market mechanisms for flexibility trading in the local electricity markets and allows integration with wholesale power markets, as well as the development of a Grid planning tool, a tool for planning low voltage networks with a high share of renewables and flexibility sources.


Ravne (photo: X-Flex archive)

One of the main objectives of the project is to develop an integrated set of tools that will enable and simplify the use of flexibility in the power system, with the aim to increase the stability and reliability of the power supply, both in normal operating conditions as well as in the case of extreme weather events. The solutions developed within the project are being tested under various conditions in four pilot sites in three different countries (Bulgaria, Slovenia and Greece), which all differ in their needs, socio-economic aspects and technological constraints.

In the pilot site of Luče, where the first energy community in Slovenia is already operating, the preliminary tests of the tools have successfully demonstrated the possibility of allocating the limited network capacities to the electric vehicle charging stations through a market mechanism being part of the local flexibility market. These tests, in addition to technical challenges such as the need for common standards for communication with flexible sources and the different charging powers of different electric vehicles, have highlighted the importance of cooperation between all stakeholders in the electricity supply chain, and the importance of engaging with the broader local community to raise awareness of the challenges posed by the accelerated transition to the renewable energy resources (RES) and e-mobility. This way the awareness of the importance of projects such as X-FLEX is strengthened. 


 Luče (photo: X-Flex archive)


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