INTERFLEX: Smart Technologies for the Smart Grid

A Topkapi project performed by Suez Smart Solutions for GRDF.

 

The InterFlex project was initiated by Enedis, within the framework of the Horizon 2020 European projects bid for tenders. It brings together five European electricity distributors to improve the performance and reliability of a local electric system, by testing new solutions using local flexibilities in production and consumption, as well as network automation.

 

NICE SMART VALLEY is one of the experiments in the Interflex Smart Grid project at the service of the Smart City. It associates energy providers (EDF, ENGIE), network managers (Enedis, GRDF), industrialists and the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis.

GRDF participate in this demonstrator to show and prove the feasibility of the technical and economic performance of new ‘smart gas’* products installed in the distribution network.

Why does the electric infrastructure need flexibility and how can the gas network help in this respect?

The objectives of development of renewable energies and the development of new electric uses (use of electric heat pumps, integration of electric vehicles) produce new needs for managing electrical flexibility, on the national grid, but also on the local distribution grid. Assets at the interconnection of the electricity, gas, heat and cold networks, such as co-generation and hybrid systems (condensation boilers and heat pumps controlled by a control-command system), allow these networks to be relieved.

Role of TOPKAPI in the project:

TOPKAPI plays a central part in this Smart Grid demonstrator. It implements the link between the ‘smart gas’ field equipment associated with WIT controllers, GRDF for remote monitoring of these devices and the aggregators** who need permanent knowledge of the state of the facilities to remove them from the electricity grid when required.

TOPKAPI is hosted in a data centre and all communication links are secured via a VPN.

Suez Smart Solutions, GRDF provider for the solution’s automation, has chosen TOPKAPI version 6.0 based on the following criteria:

 

  • Hosting in a Data Centre on a virtual machine possible: TOPKAPI in SaaS code with dematerialized protection key
  • Perfect compatibility with the WIT controllers
  • HTML5 WEB client (Webserv2 option) for viewing the application on any type of display without installation (for GRDF and aggregators)
  • Cybersecurity integrated to version 6
  • Solution openness: the data server function via the secured Webservice is used by the EDF and ENGIE aggregators to provide data from equipment to their data control and processing platform, but also to send back the controls (e.g. load balancing) to the devices through TOPKAPI.

    The demonstrator will deliver its first conclusions in a few months...

    *The following are among the ‘smart gas’ products already available:

    • Co-generation: packaged solutions handling needs such as heating, domestic hot water and local electricity production simultaneously. These assets are flexible, as a given module can produce more or less electricity upon request. Coupling with a hot water storage allows optimising flexible use
    • Hybrid boilers, heat pumps and rooftops, associating an electric heat pump with a condensation boiler, operating alternately to use the most effective technology at any given time. These assets are flexible, as control of the facility on demand allows switching from the electric heat pump to the gas boiler, and conversely, hence clearing electrical consumption.

    ** The aggregator ‘balances’ electric offer and demand over the electric network.