Each of our REScoopVPP partner has been asked what have they learned through the project. You can read below the answers of each of our 11 organisation representatives.
Vincent Dierickx, co-founder and president, EnergieID
As Technical coordinator of the project it truly makes me happy to see how we have been collaborating the last 3,5 years with a motivated and enthusiastic team on digital innovation for the energy transition. Not only do we have better insights now in the difficulties to enable flexibility at home level, but also we gained valuable insights in the best way to collaborate with people-centric organizations to create technology with the first and utmost purpose of improving the daily live of our citizens with at the same time lower energy costs and less carbon footprint.
For EnergieID, the project enabled us to grow our expertise on cloud infrastructure that we are already including in our daily business. We became better experts to create data communities from lot’s of individual data from different sources, to create one flexibility signal to combine different incentives for different kinds of assets and to understand the data-needs for communities in the future. We are ready to collaborate further with the REScoops to bring this technology to live for our communities. Yes we can!
Claire Knox, project manager, The Carbon Co-op
As Carbon Co-op was both a development partner and a demonstration pilot site within the REScoop VPP project, I learnt so much from all project partners about the diversity of community energy across Europe, and from our development/technical teams about managing an open source software development lifecycle for the COFYbox, and the deep level of analysis and integration work required when connecting innovation technologies with proprietary or open source hardware in domestic settings. It was extremely valuable to be able to test both implicit and explicit demand side response with our fleet of domestic ‘flexibility providers’, to gain an in-depth understanding of how a community energy aggregator service could be implemented and scaled, and the associated challenges and benefits. We would not have been able to gain this insight without the fantastic support and patience of our participants who gave us their time, cooperation and helped us with testing new developments and functionality throughout the course of the project.
Joannes Laveyne, energy researcher, Ghent University
EVs, heat pumps, home batteries, … All the assets to fully unlock residential flexibility are already there. However, on their own, these devices don’t do much. In fact, if their operation is not coordinated, there is a risk that they will increase the need for flexibility from other parts of the electricity system. As an academic partner in the RESCoopVPP project, we investigated how to turn these devices from a liability for the electrical grid to an asset.
One of the main issues we encountered was in finding out how to implement intelligent control strategies. It is not that these devices do not have the technical capabilities to be controlled in a smart way. Home energy management systems should be able to act as both universal translators and coordinators, optimising residential energy consumption. It is only by allowing devices to talk to each other that coordination can be achieved, and flexibility unlocked.
Lucie Anizon, secretary general, Enercoop
With REScoopVPP, Enercoop had the opportunity to further redevelop and implement enda, Enercoop’s open source forecasting algorithms for production and consumption. These tools will help cooperatives to ensure balance responsibility or to put in place flexibility signals that reflect energy prices or CO2 intensity. Som Energia and Ecopower, both tested and contributed to improving the tool, and enda is now available on the new REScode platform to be shared with other energy communities..
Broaderly, REScoopVPP has enhanced Enercoop’s expertise in flexibility. First, using enda, Enercoop's team has implemented the balance responsibility of our cooperative retailer. Then we’ve put in place "Opération Flexibilité" among our members. This scheme alerts our customers on moments of strain on the electricity network or within Enercoop's portfolio. This first-hand experience has also played a crucial role in refining Enercoop's strategic roadmap on flexibility. Currently, we’re working on informing and incentivizing our members using a supplier peak/off-peak calendar reflecting Enercoop's assets availability. Steering loads has not been discarded, but has been deferred to the longer term.
All together, the skills acquired during REScoopVPP will fortify Enercoop in its new roles as a balance responsible party and producer, paving the way for the development of aggregator skills and further work on production flexibility.
Ine Swennen, project manager, Ecopower
In the content of the REScoopVPP project, Ecopower benefitted from several business analyses to improve its services. Also, business processes related to dynamic pricing and forecasting that were already performed before the project can now be operated more sophisticated and efficiently, therefore leading to lower operating costs for Ecopower. In particular, REScoopVPP forecast models proved very promising and Ecopower will continue to invest in further improving them for its wind turbines, solar installations and consumption of its customers.
Our participation in REScoopVPP project has led to a more data driven approach of taking decisions within Ecopower.
Nicolas Van Damme, project manager, Energent
As a citizen cooperative, we were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of our cooperative members to participate in this innovation project. The will is there to be part of the energy transition and help make projects like REScoopVPP possible. Nevertheless the project showed that keeping specific appliances running in people's homes is not obvious. Despite this, participants continued to make time for interventions and short consultations.
Within the framework of energy sharing and the capacity tariff, the project's flexibility tools are certainly interesting. It turned out that further development is still needed here, but at least it has already shown the potential, allowing us to choose what we want to focus on as a cooperative in the future and how we can assist our citizens better in renovations and optimising energy efficiency.
All in all, this project has strengthened our bond with our cooperative members and citizens.
Christian Weingärtner, project manager, Bürgerwerke
In the REScoop-VPP project, Bürgerwerke expanded beyond their core operations to delve into the energy management systems that monitor, analyse, and regulate electricity consumers and producers. This project has particularly highlighted the challenges involved in building a digital infrastructure and underscored that the ability to integrate electricity consumers is key to success.
In addition to optimising energy consumption on a local level, we have taken initial steps into advanced applications such as dynamic pricing, energy sharing and virtual grids. These efforts have not only provided practical insights but have also been a valuable learning experience for future collaborative energy management applications.
Jairo Echavez, project manager, Som Energia
With the RescoopVPP project, Som Energia has managed to prove the value of flexibility for both citizens and for the system. Also, we’ve made important learnings about new services and business models in this field.
However, it appears still too early to deploy these flexibility toolsat a commercial level among our members, as some barriers still need to be solved. These are technical (devices interoperability), regulatory (limited market participation), and pedagogical barriers (flexibility is still an unknown concept for people).
Beyond this, Som Energia has also identified further opportunities. Installation costs can be lowered through flexibility tools collective purchases. Also, energy sharing holds some interesting flexibility to leverage in energy communities. Thus, the explorations made during this project have influenced our commercial offer, but also will be present in our future strategic decisions.
Zupančič, Power systems researcher, University of Ljubljana
Within REScoop VPP, the Energy Policy Lab at the University of Ljubljana has developed expertise in the development of Use Cases and Business models in various settings, including end-user, commercial, and cooperative contexts. The examination of existing legislation reveals that the evolving sector of energy communities and cooperatives often faces hindrances due to inadequate regulations. Collaboration with pilot leaders has provided valuable insights into household flexibility sources and their operational limitations. Through simulations, we utilised real pilot data and a representative grid model and assessed the energy savings achieved through different combinations of flexible devices at the household level. The implementation of network-wide control, as an improved control scheme, enhances overall network operation and grid conditions, mitigating the adverse effects of smart grid assets, such as variable RES and spikes in EV-related consumption. On a broader, national grid level, the aggregation of flexible devices has proven to be a promising business case for the aggregator. By offering collective flexibility on energy markets and ancillary services to power system operators, the approach has demonstrated profitability.
Malte Zieher, board member, Bündnis Bürgerenergie
In the REScoopVPP project, Bündnis Bürgerenergie, the German citizen energy alliance, brought together the project partner’s expertise on the existing legal frameworks, incentives and barriers regarding the use of decentralised flexibilities in the relevant countries of the project partners. We learned how difficult it is to build business models with legislation still being made for a centralised supply structure, particularly with different rules from one European country to another. However, it was great to see what already works and to collectively think of new pieces of legislation following a decentralised approach. The right to share energy within communities is a crucial demand for a European Union fighting climate change and promoting cooperative solutions.
Roland Tual, project manager, REScoop.eu
With this project REScoop.eu has made significant progress in its understanding of digitalisation in the cooperative context, not only for flexibility but for many activities. We’ve created a dynamic of collaboration within our membership which looks very promising for the coming years. Moreover, we’ve identified the key role open source tools can play and hope to create more links beyond energy cooperatives in the near future!
Finally we’ve refined our positioning on flexibility services with a deeper understanding of the interlinks between self-consumption support services, dynamic pricing and explicit demand response. The mapping of energy sharing regulation and the dialogue started with our DSO partners on this topic are probably the most striking outcomes on the regulatory side.
There are few projects which are very consistent in terms of partners and focus and enable big steps onwards on certain topics. REScoopVPP is definitely part of these.
Manuel Nina, co-founder and director of innovation, SNAP! Partners
Continuing the close collaboration between SNAP! Partners and energy cooperatives around Europe, the project was a great opportunity to support the consortium members in improving their internal procedures and ensuring that all requests from the European Commission were complied with, while at the same time, facilitating and enabling the adjustment of project activities with the evolving realities of piloting and challenging external contexts, such as the pandemic and the war on Ukraine.
During the project meetings and continuous collaboration, we had the pleasure to promote new innovation concepts proposed by partners, catalyse business opportunities between organisations and foster the launch of new initiatives that we will follow-up together during the upcoming years.