Researchers in the European Grid-Friends project will launch a pilot for sharing renewable energy between households in the Amsterdam building project Schoonschip. By coordinating energy supply and demand between the houses, the entire neighborhood aims to be energy neutral. The project started this month and is led by Dr. Michael Kaisers of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam.
“Renewable energy from sun and wind has natural fluctuations,” says Kaisers. “The demand for electricity will also change, for instance due to electric vehicles. A neighborhood will therefore only be energy neutral and self-sustaining by implementing a smart grid: an intelligent energy grid that coordinates the storage and distribution of energy between households. Our group at CWI has experience in smart grids and I am glad to be able to implement this knowledge in practice in the Schoonschip project.”
CWI researcher Tim Baarslag develops the algorithms for the grid. “The grid should guarantee a fair and efficient distribution of energy, without limiting individual freedom,” says Baarslag. “This requires flexible algorithms that respond quickly to new developments. Energy is exchanged through automatic negotiation between households, based on individual preferences such as low cost versus comfort, and the willingness to share energy with neighbours.”
Schoonschip is a cooperation of 47 household which aims to be the most sustainable floating neighbourhood in Europe. It is being constructed in the Johan van Hasseltkanaal, a branch of the IJ in the north of Amsterdam. The first buildings are planned to be completed in 2017. The energy consumption of the houses will be almost completely covered by self-generated energy from solar cells, solar thermal collectors and bio-gas. “This project is part of a broader development towards a trading economy: decentralization of production and services, and a peer-to-peer exchange through trading platforms”, says Hernandez Leal. “Due to the transition towards renewable energy, we are all becoming energy producers, and cooperatives such as Schoonschip can even engage with each other in the energy market. In the end, Grid-Friends aims to develop technology that help us keep our energy supply reliable and efficient.”
Project partners in Grid-Friends include project leader CWI, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) from Kaiserslautern, the companies Spectral Utilities and Evohaus who will develop the infrastructure, and the Schoonschip Foundation. The project started this year and has received funding in the framework of the joint programming initiative ERA-Net Smart Grids Plus, with support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. All major findings will be published open access to allow similar initiatives to profit from the results.