Sim4Blocks - Horizon 2020 Project

Sim4Blocks is an EC-funded project that is using innovative new methods to deal with the influx of renewable energy sources into the grid.

Peaks and troughs in energy use by consumers occur every day and night. Electricity suppliers need to make sure that the right amount of electricity is being supplied at all times. This used to be a simple task when electricity was solely produced from sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear power, as output could be easily controlled to meet fluctuating levels of demand by switching on so-called “peaking power plants”.

However, with more and more intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar being introduced into the grid, it has become a lot harder to maintain the correct energy output. In worst-case scenarios, this has led to power outages or having to wastefully shut down generation from renewables.
This decreased ability to regulate the supply of electricity has meant that operators are now instead looking at ways to control demand. In some instances, this can involve creating systems that encourage consumers to match their demand with supply rather than matching supply with demand. This is known as demand response – when consumers adjust their use of electricity to match what is available at the time. Typically, this involves shifting electricity use from times with little renewable electricity production in the grid to times when there is more i.e. use power when the wind is blowing. Consumers thus play a more active role in the operation of the electricity grid.

The Sim4Blocks project is developing innovative demand response services for residential and commercial applications. The project will combine de-centralised energy management technology at the blocks-of-buildings-scale to enable demand response. In this regard, EIFER is leading a work package dedicated to business models, market access and standardization, aiming, amongst other, at implementing a model-based study on electrical system simulation and to clarify the market access for demand response services.
The demand response systems and services will be applied to three pilot sites in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, and tested together with interfaces to ensure that they are intuitive to use.
The goal is to increase energy flexibility in the electricity grid in order to accommodate the fluctuating renewable energy sources that are so important for the de-carbonisation of the power sector. Therefore, EIFER also works within the project on the elaboration of a prototype software module to characterize the flexibility of blocks of buildings. The project will also encourage better user engagement and awareness in energy use at home, and hopefully introduce cost savings for consumers as well.

For more information watch the Project Video or visit the Project Website

Contact EIFER: Pauline Raux-Defossez, Markus Peter

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