Context

Sensa project has been designed and shaped in the context of the IO.Energy Ecosystem.

Day & night energy prices were introduced at a time it was needed to incentivize consumption at night and during the weekends. Although well integrated in the consumption habits, it doesn’t match anymore with the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources.

The idea of Sensa project is to develop a version 2.0 of such a pricing, real-time , incentivizing the consumers to support the system needs (balancing of the grid, congestion management, auto-consumption, etc). Prices are designed to target the desired reaction level (depends on the needs), using AI / machine learning algorithms.

Approach

During an intensive 5-day workshop organized by the IO.Energy Ecosystem, the participants together defined an innovative approach to place the consumer at the center of the electrical system and support the energy transition. The concept has been created using the Design Thinking methodology and its famous sentence “How might we … “. Step by step, the team has refined the scope of the idea, supported by some well- known templates like Business Model Canvas.

Description

1 | Sustainable and affordable!

Society has set big goals to limit the increase of global temperature to maximum 1.5 degrees by horizon 2050. As citizens, we are all responsible for a better future. At the same time, most of us care about our energy bills. We don’t want to pay double for going green and after a hard day at work, we like to relax and enjoy a certain comfort level.

The current electrical system has been designed to produce electricity centrally and transport / distribute it toward the consumption points. Our system needs to evolve if we want to help Society reach its goal and make the energy transition a success; enabling renewable penetration, decentralization and electrification.

2 | The big idea

On the consumer side, a smart node (gateway between the home and the electricity network) is connected to the electrical appliances providing flexibility (typically water heater, electric vehicle, heat pump, ..). The users can configure their smart node with their comfort preferences regarding those appliances.

On the system operator side, volumes of needs regarding system imbalance, congestion, local consumption, etc. are defined and are translated into a price signal (using Artificial Intelligence techniques) and finally sent to the user’s smart node.

The smart node will then automatically react to this price signal and control the electrical appliances, while complying with the comfort requirements of the user.

As an incentive to participate in the electrical system, the user will be rewarded since the smart box will typically shift the consumption pattern in a way as to decrease the bill.. This mechanism will take place every 5 minutes.

3 | Hypotheses to be validated

During this project, the consortium wants to validate several hypotheses:

The user engagement and available flexibility:

  • Via the website https://sensa.energy/, an assessment of the installed flexibility will be made. The tradeoff to define the right level of information versus the accuracy of the assessed flexibility will be investigated
  • We also want to understand if/how the users are ready for this new approach of the energy and how we could best engage with them with a smart pricing concept

We want to test the technical feasibility of the solution:

  • Ensure that we have the right price for the right flexibility (validate the artificial intelligence algorithms transforming the desired reactions into a price signal).
  • Ensure that a smart node device can adequately use a price signal and transform it into a control signal to the appliances, also considering the local constraints and user comfort settings.

Members

David Boyker N-Side

Cathy Crunelle Engie Laborelec

Brice Dessain One Smart Control

Olivier Devolder N-Side

David Dewe NRB

Matthijs Doclo Engie Laborelec

Didier Halkin Ores

Guillaume Leclercq N-Side

Johan Maricq Elia

Sebastien Massin Automation

Justine Mawet NRB

Benjamin Vanhemelryck Engie Laborelec

Philippe WALTREGNY-DENGIS NRB

Partners

Automation centres on total solutions of electrical systems tailored to customers with ever-increasing requirements where the reliability of systems is literally of vital importance.

Elia is the Transmission System Operator of Belgium.

Engie is a global reference in low-carbon energy and services.

ENGIE Laborelec is a leading expertise and research centre in electrical power technology.

N-SIDE is an innovative software consulting company in advanced analytics designing artificial intelligence and optimization solutions for Supply Chain, Operations and Energy management.

NRB is the top three of the Belgian ICT industry including consultancy, software, infrastructure & cloud services, and managed staffing.

ONE Smart Control is the digital brain of the home and delivers an all-in-one smart home system with integration of energy monitoring and energy optimization.

Ores is one of the main Distribution System Operator of Belgium, active in Wallonia.