Volue Software Powers Energy-Smart Neighbourhoods in Trondheim

Volue has developed a local energy and flexibility market platform for energy neighbourhoods and communities as part of the EU Horizon2020 project +CityXchange.

Trondheim Brattorkaia

In Trondheim, one of the largest cities in Norway, power company TrønderEnergi is piloting a local energy and flexibility community.

In the “smart district” Brattørkaia, TrønderEnergi has implemented Volue’s market platform software in an effort to demonstrate how a local energy market digitally connected to renewables, batteries and flexible consumption works.

“Our software consists of an algotrader for market participation and a digital marketplace for market coordination. It is based on the same principles as the wholesale market but gives access to all digitally connected assets – independent of their size,” says Boris Tistan, Head of Platform at Volue and responsible for the software development.

The solution has been deployed by TrønderEnergi and in the next step of the project, the local market will be tested.

“We are looking at the future,” says Klaus Livik, Chief Strategist at Volue. “This project is a demonstration of how Volue’s profound knowledge of the power market can be transformed into a solution that speeds up Europe’s actions towards more affordable, secure and sustainable energy – REPowerEU.”

Soon, energy won’t be produced in huge power plants and transmitted to the end-user over long distances. Everything, including the trading, will happen locally.

But one of the challenges is that a substantial part of the energy available locally is not optimally utilised. The consequences are that the value of renewables and consumer flexibility are underestimated. Some of this energy is available within short time windows only.

“An important scope for the demonstration is to assign market prices to all local sellers and bids. It is clear that we need systems and solutions that are able to utilise and set the correct value for this flexibility,” says Klaus Livik.

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Boris Tistan and Klaus Livik in Trondheim.

In addition, the +CityxChange project is focused on the process of onboarding customers and assets, including training, asset identification and registration, as well as putting in place agreements between customers/local assets and the market operator.

But under current regulations, the “energy-smart” neighbourhoods and the renewable units in the demonstration area have to sell the power they produce to the power grid and then buy it back at a much higher price.

To be able to implement and test the new set-up, the project has received permission from the regulator to realise the set-up, implementation and demonstration.

“As technology advances, regulations need to catch up. In Norway, just like in Europe, we have regulations that were put in place 25 years ago for a centralised energy system. The energy transition is heavily dependent on an agile and future-proof energy regulatory framework. Urgent action in the REPowerEU is to improve electricity market design, so hopefully, the regulatory framework will soon be aligned with the Volue energy and flexibility market platform.”

Calculating the design of local energy systems

As part of the project, Volue is also working on software that is able to calculate the best design for a local energy system when it comes to asset mix and capacities.

“It is very important to avoid stressing the distribution grid. By performing calculations at the design stage, we can check if e-mobility – cars, chargers, and carpools – will stress the local grid.”

The ongoing shift is extensive and energy restructuring and urban development go "hand in hand". Livik already sees that city planners are no longer planning for one building at a time.

“They plan whole city areas or cluster ten buildings together. That would mean that three of the buildings would have PVs on the rooftop, two would have batteries, and the rest would have equipment for charging. You have to approach the new buildings as a coordinated system – digitally connected to a local market.”

Livik is confident that the Volue team is ready to take on the technological challenge and meet the industry’s needs.

“We already have the domain expertise and the solutions to make this transition smooth for city planners and all parties involved, including grid operators.”

More about the Trondheim Brattørkaia project

The +CityXchange project has the city of Trondheim as a central partner. In addition, Volue, TrønderEnergi, ABB and others are also partners.

Thanks to PV, batteries, vehicle-to-grid chargers, flexible consumption and a local energy market, the energy-positive community of Brattørkaia will contribute to the grid and to the energy balance as a whole.

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