Local energy market at Chalmers

Pioneering local energy market tested at Chalmers

​When the project Fossil-free Energy Districts (FED) ends this autumn, the first local energy market in Europe that combines the three energy carriers, electricity, heating and cooling has been established on Chalmers University of Technology campus Johanneberg.
Local energy systems are often mentioned as part of the solution, when it comes to the transformation of the energy system  a change that is necessary to meet an increased demand, but also to take care of a growing share of energy from renewable sources. Driven by these challenges and with AI-technology as an enabler, the nine partners of the FED project have built such a system on the campus of Chalmers. By doing so they have moved forward the position of local energy systems as a possible piece of the energy transition puzzle.

Stina Rydberg“It is a great success that we have managed to create and demonstrate this new and unique energy system that is now in full operation on campus. The attention and interest FED has attracted, both nationally and internationally, confirms that the concept of local energy systems is on the rise”, says Stina Rydberg, project manager at Johanneberg Science Park.

Trading between the buildings
By connecting the buildings on campus to a digital marketplace, the FED system is programmed to independently manage a constantly ongoing trade between buildings that can both consume, produce and store energy. The system continuously gets external input such as weather forecasts and electricity prices, and it is also connected to the surrounding energy grid.

This way the system can control the energy consumption, for example by heating a building a few hours before the weather turns cold, and ensure that locally produced, renewable energy is used efficiently within the area. Hence, power-intensive peaks are avoided, and imports of fossil-based energy can be reduced.

A model for operations and investments
In parallel with the construction of the real system on campus, the researchers at Chalmers have created a simulation model of the energy system and the digital marketplace.

David Steen“We have developed an investment model that prescribes technical solutions to reduce energy consumption and cut energy peaks”, says David Steen, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering. “Our simulations can also be useful in decision making on how the system should be operated by combining different energy sources, depending on what is most beneficial in terms of environment and economy, at any given time.

The testbed remains open
The FED project ends in 2019, but the campus testbed and marketplace will remain open to researchers and companies to test the new energy solutions needed in the transition towards a sustainable society. 

“It is unique to have access to this kind of testbed and to be able to test solutions in close cooperation with industry as well as academy”, says David Steen. “We will use it for continued research on local energy systems and to further develop the models created so far. One example is the newly launched project FlexiGrid, focusing primarily on the electric system and services directed to the local grid, performed in collaboration with researchers from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Turkey and Canada.”

In other EU-funded projects, the researchers will examine advanced solutions for the future distribution grid​​ and how different micro-grids can interact in order to facilitate the use of renewable energy production. 

“Small-scale local energy systems will become increasingly more important for managing the energy supply in the future”, David Steen concludes. ”FED has given us important pieces of the puzzle, but there is more to be explored to manage the energy transition.”

This is FED –​ Fossil-free Energy Districts

The Fossil-free Energy Districts project (FED), is an innovative effort by the City of Gothenburg to decrease the use of energy and the dependence on fossil fuel in a built environment. A unique local marketplace for electricity, district heating and cooling is being developed together with nine strong partners. 
The City of Gothenburg, Johanneberg Sciene Park, Göteborg Energi, Business Region Göteborg, Ericsson, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Akademiska Hus, Chalmersfastigheter and Chalmers University of Technology are all contributing with their expertise and knowledge to make FED attractive for other European cities as well.
During 2017−2019 the FED testbed will be situated on Chalmers Campus Johanneberg. FED is co-financed by the European Regional and Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative, an initiative of the European Commission for cities to test new solutions for urban challenges. 

Read more on the FED project

For questions regarding the research in FED:
David Steen, researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology

For general questions about the FED project:
Stina Rydberg, project manager, Johanneberg Science Park

Page manager Published: Mon 29 Jun 2020.