Prototype Development of the System for the Control of Industrial Loads and Distributed Sources on the Distribution Electricity Grid

The KIBERnet is a top-down project from Slovenia aiming to develop a prototype system for automatic control of industrial loads and decentralized electrical generation on the power distribution grid. It has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The project’s objective is the development and demonstration of a novel service that distribution system operators (DSOs) would like to introduce to their industrial consumers and producers of electricity. The main purposes of this service would be:
create economic benefits for industrial consumers and producers,
reduce costs of balancing the mismatch between planned and produced electricity (balancing and control energy),
reduce the need for investments due to reinforcements and enlargements of the power grid, 
increase security and reliability of the power distribution grid operation, 
enable efficient energy consumption,
enable large scale integration of decentralized electricity production units.

Within the scope of the project, new technological solutions and measures have been implemented:
innovative algorithms of computer control and regulation,
optimization algorithms,
hardware and software for automatic demand response,
user-friendly design.

This project resulted in the design and implementation of an automated demand response system, which consists of a control centre (designed for KIBERnet service providers) and a communication control hardware installed at the side of the end user and consumer. Using specially developed advanced control algorithms in the central control centre, a service provider connects individual consumers and producers into a virtual group and manages their offered adaptation capacities according to the group’s technical and economic best interest. 

The automated demand response communication procedure between the service centre and consumer (see picture below) regularly exchanges the adaptation information data and does not directly involve the end user. The direct end user interaction is provided offline via the technical support and billing – collecting the incentives. The main face-to-face contact was established at the beginning of the project through the end user engagement process. The SMEs preferred the automated solutions since this does not affect their production process and they can focus on their primary business and value chains. Automated solutions demand less additional interactions due to the automated smart grid services and enable easier adaptation of production processes. From the end user perspective it is a "set and forget” service, which should have only positive financial and energy effects.

The KIBERnet system has been installed and tested at the locations of four industrial end users which were also partners on the project. The interaction scheme started with the preparation phase, which consisted of the selection of end users and the investigation of technical characteristics for adaptation. After signing the contract, the interaction scheme passed to the operation phase, which was mainly controlled by the automated solution.

Picture: Communication algorithm of the end user device with the control centre, source: KIBERnet

The main impact of the S3C project on KIBERnet was to strengthen the focus on end users, i.e. to not only analyse their needs from a technological point of view, but to take into account the needs of industrial customers that used the new applications. In particular, the recruitment process was consolidated and the allocation of flexible energy was revised. Additionally, certain points of the evaluation, which concentrated on dedicated performance indicators and baseline calculation, were examined.

The series of guidelines on incentives were analysed, but due to the advanced stage of the project they were not implemented. Nevertheless the ideas of nonfinancial and nonmonetary incentives resulted in interesting ideas for the motivation of end users in future engagement processes.

The goal of the KIBERnet project was to set up a system to the pilot stage and set it ready for the commercial use. The end users obligated themselves to participate actively and made their loads accessible for the investigation of the project. In exchange, they received the automated solution of the demand response system free of charge, which will bring profits when the service will pass to a commercial stage.

The end user candidates for participation were selected from the pool of SMEs from various branches according to technical characteristics and personal contacts. Those selected end users were invited to the engagement workshop for the project demonstration. After this step, each selected end user went through the detailed technical analyses of the production process, finishing with the installation of the KIBERnet equipment.

During the operation phase the interactions with the end user were mainly carried out within the automated algorithm for demand response. The end users had an option to monitor the demand response activities online through a web application (see pictures below). This technology is designed to support the contractual relationship between service provider and the commercial/industrial customers. The contract defines the obligated flexibility capacity, adaptation frequency, penalties and optionally also the incentives for demand response.

In the KIBERnet project, the commercial customers were treated as smart consumers, receiving and realizing the requirements from the service provider. The end user wanted to avoid the risk of failure or losses due to introduction of the demand response changes affecting his core business. Therefore, the automated control solution was adapted to those requirements resulting in limited behavioural change while optimising financial benefits. 

Picture: KIBERnet Project, snapshot of the service provider control, source: KIBERnet

Picture: KIBERnet Project, snapshot of the end user adaptation monitoring, source: KIBERnet

Due to the fact that the S3C partner INEA also led the project KIBERnet, a direct contact to the consortium was enabled. The KIBERnet project finished just before the S3C project but the project partners showed interest to participate in the S3C project as an active pilot and to contribute with their experiences as end users from the industrial segment. 

The first workshop with the consortium was organized to detect common interest for collaboration. The result was the agreement to focus on guidelines on business relationships and business models. Furthermore, a collaboration on guidelines about the technical characteristic of demand response capabilities (depending on the regular end user production processes and evaluation methods) was agreed upon. A series of workshops resulted in the investigation of the following guidelines:

Guidelines optimizing the recruitment and demand response process
Guideline: Introducing demand side management to SMEs
Tool: Questionnaire for engaging SMEs
Tool: How to estimate your load shifting potential
Guideline: Using flexibility manually or automatically
Guideline: How to monitor demand response performance

Guidelines used for evaluation
Guideline: KPIs for energy consumption effects
Guideline: How to create a consumption baseline

Financial oriented guidelines
Guideline: Designing a dynamic tariff
Guideline: Bonus & malus – changing behaviour with rewards and penalties
Guideline: Testing tariff schemes in a pilot context
Guideline: Choosing and combining monetary and non-monetary incentives
Guideline: Choosing from different types of monetary incentives
Guideline: Choosing from different types of non-monetary 

The financially oriented guidelines were used to elaborate ideas about incentives and on how to build a proper business relationship between end users and service providers (win-win). Those guidelines remained untested for two reasons: 1.) The project has not gone into the commercial phase yet and 2.) The guidelines did not pay much attention to automated solutions and SMEs. 

The guidelines dealing with the recruitment and demand response processes were used and tested, to revise the existing process and to test new end user candidates. One of the candidates was very interested in those services and further activities were planned.

The guidelines regarding the evaluation were used to define parameters for the demand response efficiency and to improve the calculation for accounting incentives. The project KIBERnet found some performance indicators about the adaptation of energy consumption, which can be compared to the demand response efficiency of particular consumers. The guideline about the calculation of the consumption reference gave important information about the handling of individual specifics, when defining the incentive terms in the contract. 

Further information
KIBERnet website:

Visit the S3C toolkit website: