A flexible energy system will be required in order to keep the future energy supply sustainable, reliable and affordable. Flexibility in energy supply and demand offers the possibility to affordably and accessibly absorb grid imbalances and peaks. Creating an open European standard for access to flexibility is important in order to enable optimum and fair use to be made of the available flexibility.
The Flexible Power Alliance Network (FAN) is committed to developing such an open standard that will be accessible to everyone. This will enable all end users to participate in the exchange of flexibility and it will enable optimum use to be made of potential sources of flexibility such as heat pumps, PV panels, electric cars and storage. Existing and new market parties can develop services that will bring about the link between these sources of flexibility and the market. In addition, grid operators will continue to be able to intervene immediately and take some pressure off the grid. If there are standardised protocols for communication between energy management applications and devices, portability will also be guaranteed. Customers can then easily switch suppliers or aggregators without any technical modifications being required and continue to be free to choose their applications or service providers. This will also keep the costs of making flexibility accessible as low as possible.
In addition to disseminating this philosophy jointly with sector partners, FAN has also developed a protocol (EFI) for the flexibility interface of devices. This protocol has been used to gain experience of open protocols and software that enable flexibility to be exchanged freely. Now that the knowledge and experience is there, it is up to politicians to work towards establishing an open standard.
Public authorities, grid operators and market participants are jointly responsible for establishing a sustainable and future-proof energy system. The proposal for the outlines of the Dutch Climate Agreement contained quite a few elements in this respect, one of the key concepts being flexibility. FAN calls on the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the sector, and market participants to use the Dutch Climate Agreement to make the above philosophy come true and prescribe an open standard for access to flexibility. This will enable flexibility to be optimally integrated with the energy system and it will enable more precise arrangements to be made for the following elements in the outline text for the Climate Agreement:
- Developing open standards (communication protocols and connection conditions) that are also accessible to innovative market players.
- Conduction an investigation into whether a statutory basis should be introduced to prevent grid overloads, e.g. by imposing additional technical requirements on production installations, both on the supply side (e.g. PV and wind) and the consumption side (heat pumps and chargers). Suppliers and aggregators can also make a contribution to this.
Jointly with its affiliated partners and through strategic collaborations, FAN can provide a concrete definition and implementation route for this.