17 January 2023
Sensa – Define your comfort level, we take care of the rest
Sensa project has been designed and shaped in the context of the IO.Energy Ecosystem.
Why this project
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.
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.
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.
The big ideaOn 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.
Hypotheses to be validated
During this project, the consortium wants to validate several hypotheses:
The user engagement and available flexibility:
- Via the website www.checkmyflex.be, 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.