11 March 2010 – A consortium of Dutch companies has created a living smart grid demonstration community, including interconnected micro-CHP units, that goes live today. Consultancy KEMA has partnered with Dutch energy research centre ECN, software company Humiq and utility Essent to create the ‘PowerMatching City.’
Located in Hoogkerk, the Netherlands, the project is said to be the first microgrid in Europe to integrate a full-scale, operational ‘smart’ residential community energy system. The community includes 25 interconnected residential homes equipped with micro-CHP units, hybrid heat pumps, PV solar panels, smart appliances and electric vehicles, and additional community-based power produced by a wind farm and a gas turbine.
The project is the culmination of a two-year planning, implementation, and residential technology and equipment installation process. It seeks to develop a market model for a smart grid, creating an industry reference standard to help enable wide-scale smart grid implementation. In the live phase, research into the community members’ energy use behaviour will be undertaken to gain insight into the smart energy consumer. Data will be collected on how, how much and when electricity is used, and analyzed to explore consumer willingness to exchange comfort for flexibility based on financial incentives.
The years ahead will see enormous growth in distributed electricity generation from renewable sources such as wind energy, solar energy and biogas, says KEMA. Homes, neighbourhoods and business parks will increasingly both generate and consume electricity. This will result in two-way or even multi-way energy traffic between homes and businesses, and between neighbourhoods and energy companies.
For the trial in Hoogkerk, 25 homes were virtually interconnected and provided with micro-CHP systems, hybrid heat pumps, PV panels, smart meters, electric transport and smart household appliances. Together, the homes form a virtual power plant. A