Virtual Microgrids for Smart Energy Networks
In the traditional business model, the energy producers sell their energy resources centrally. Instead, in the proposed VIMSEN business model, small energy producers have the flexibility of either: i) re-distributing energy resources with each other to compensate energy production-demand differences, or ii) directly participating in the electricity market through the respective association, which is a big power generator unit. Towards this framework, new business models should be developed to investigate the trade-off between the benefits of the association and the cost of the technologies needed to establish this association.
In this project, we research on ICT technologies that allow the creation of Virtual Micro-Grids (VMGs) under a highly dynamic and distributed framework. Virtual Micro-Grids are dynamic associations of multiple micro-grids operating under a common information and communication framework that allows efficient energy management and control.
The concept of the VMG revolutionizes the way we think about the smart energy grid towards Horizon 2020. In particular, in the following, we present the main advantages of the proposed idea of creating dynamic virtual micro-grids in the smart energy grid.
- VMGs, which are collections of multiple distributed micro-grids, contribute significant amounts of energy that may be comparable to those of conventional energy production plants and can therefore easily participate into the electricity market.
- Within a VMG, better energy management and load balancing is accomplished, since the energy gap of one micro-grid can be compensated by the energy leftovers of another micro-grid.
- VMGs promote the use of renewable energy sources into the main energy grid, since a micro-grid is usually composed of renewable energy sources, and the creation of dynamic associations of them gives added value to their usage.
- VMGs give added value to the main energy distributor (such as PPC), which was required to design networks to operate at maximum energy load. The additional energy requests can be delivered through the VMGs which now encourage their members to participate into the electricity energy market.
- VMGs open the market of electric energy. Now, distributed energy sources can be sold not only to the public energy distributors, but each individual energy owner can sell/buy energy to/from other individual owners. This way we break the monopolar knot of the energy distributor through which all energy sale acts should be performed.
- VMGs are beneficial not only to the main electricity network but also to main electricity utlities (such as PPC), who will now be able to enjoy smaller energy prices, better energy control and load balancing.