Increased fluctuations in the energy market are predicted in future, due to a higher use of weather-dependent energy sources and growing demand. In addition, the large energy companies, who own the networks, must find new ways to include smaller local energy producing players. By participating in the project FED, Fossil-free Energy Districts, municipal energy company in Gothenburg, Göteborg Energi, hopes to improve their ability to meet these future scenarios.
“For us, this as a very good opportunity to train for a future that we believe will be a bit challenging, both in terms of price fluctuations, but also in demand. A lot more flexibility will be required of us”, says Jonas Cognell, project manager for Göteborg Energi's part of the EU project FED.
In FED, nine local partners have created an AI-based marketplace for electricity, heating and cooling at the campus of Chalmers University of Technology. Buildings that both consume, produce and store energy are connected to the marketplace in order to trade energy with each other. Everything is handled automatically with the help of digital agents that are programmed to reduce both costs and CO2 emissions.
“The best thing about FED is that we have the opportunity to test something new in a real environment. There are real properties and real production facilities and we can operate real physical things”, says Jonas Cognell.
Göteborg Energi's role in the project is to connect the FED system to the surrounding city network. A larger perspective, that takes into account the energy supply of the entire city while setting up local systems such as FED, is important for the company.
One of the purposes of FED is to integrate locally produced energy, for example from solar cells and biomass, into the energy system, allowing the project to contribute to reducing energy peaks and the use of fossil energy, which still dominates the European energy market. The district heating of Gothenburg plays an important role in FED, because it interacts with the electricity system in the project. This way, FED contributes to providing the citizens of Gothenburg with a more robust energy system that can handle increased proportions of variable production.
The system has been running since January 2019, and preliminary numbers show promising results. Long-term measurements are necessary in order to be able to draw definite conclusions, but for Jonas Cognell and his colleagues, working with the project has so far been of great value.
“I’ve enjoyed it very much! To work with the researchers laying the theoretical foundation of the marketplace as well as with the experienced property owners, has taught us a lot. I like that there is a wide range of partners involved in the project, while at the same time it is anchored in the heart of Gothenburg”.