Electricity system management needs even more flexibility than before due to the increase of weather-dependent production. We are studying the impacts and utilisation possibilities of the flexibility market in the management of the distribution network and in the planning of customers’ connection solutions and network service pricing.
Developing the tariff structure of small customers
We are developing the pricing structure of network services for small customers, which means that the customer will have a better opportunity to have an impact on their electricity distribution bill. The fixed basic charge of the tariff structure is partly being replaced by a power component.
Energy storage systems
Energy storage systems are both consumption and production units. Their sizes range from industrial-scale energy storage systems to household sites and electric vehicle batteries. The energy and power of the energy storage systems can be utilised for the needs of customers, the local electricity network or the system level of the transmission network.
In terms of energy storage systems, we are involved in the research entity of the Kalasatama battery energy storage facility. Acquired by Helen for Kalasatama in Helsinki in 2016, the 1.2 MW, 600 kWh battery-operated storage facility, which was the largest in the Nordic countries at the time, is a joint research platform of Helen, Helen Electricity Network and Fingrid in 2016–2019. In the study, the functionalities of the energy storage system are tested with respect to frequency regulation for the transmission system operator and with respect to the regulation of reactive power and voltage for the distribution system operator. This individual energy storage system has also been tested for the balancing of a rapidly fluctuating load.
The energy system has a diverse range of batteries in different applications. The battery entity has also been studied in a wider research project on multiprocessing of batteries.
The parties to the electrical power system have their own roles in the growth of flexibility and in contributing to its realisation. The distribution system operator enables demand response and it can also utilise demand response in its own operational activities. The implementation of demand response requires exchange of information between various operators and systems.
Flexibility is a familiar subject in larger and smaller research and development projects. When flexibility development applies to the entire power system, there are extensive national and international research projects on the subject.
Helen Electricity Network is involved in the EU Horizon SysFlex research and innovation project in 2018–2021. The project studies how effectively it is possible to connect an increasingly higher amount of renewable energy production to the electrical power system with the aid of coordinated flexibilities. The project has three main demonstrators, Finland, Germany and Italy.
The Helsinki demo tests how in a low-voltage network small active and reactive power flexibilities can be forecast, aggregated and utilised in the transmission system operator’s market places and for the needs of the distribution system operator. The EU Horizon SysFlex project was preceded by the national research projects FlexE in 2015–2016 and SGEM in 2011–2014.
Helen Electricity Network took part in both SGEM and FLEXe in the study of technical and commercial readiness of a smart electricity system and flexibility markets.