With the successful rollout of 200 million smart meters, the EU commission has paved the way for grid operators and power & utility companies to unleash the power of data hubs.
With consumption data becoming available real-time, energy market players can better balance demand and supply and the stability of the grid, and consumers stand to gain better control over how and when they consume electricity.
Why Data Hubs Now?
The different participants in an electricity system, including power generators, TSOs, DSOs, electricity suppliers and consumers communicate and exchange data with each other. Everyone exchanging data with everyone is a slow and tedious affair. A data hub centralises all the information exchange. Data Hub is a future-proof platform that can seamlessly centralise all the communication between all the participants of the electricity grid. This means that there would be a central point for a consumer, supplier, or distributor to access the data they are entitled to.
Throughout Europe, electricity market players are in various stages of implementing data hubs, some have already developed and begun operating theirs.
Danish TSO, Energinet has been working together with CGI since 2013 to establish and operate a datahub that works on the wholesale model and flex-settlement. The data hub safely manages the data of over 3.3 million consumers. The hourly metering sent through the datahub enables the consumers to use the energy when it is the cheapest. According to Energinet, the next step forward for the Danish data hub is close cooperation with other Nordic data hubs and international harmonisation in cross-border retail markets.
Elhub operating under Statnett, the national TSO, has direct access to the 3 million electricity metering points, 130 odd distribution network companies and over 110 suppliers in Norway. Their 3 million electricity consumers can, for instance, change suppliers ‘in an instant thanks to data hubs instead of getting lost in decentralized paperwork.
Eigil Gjelsvik, Chief Operations Officer, Elhub AS (Statnett), Norway will share his experiences in establishing a data hub from zero, at Prospero’s upcoming virtual conference on “Data Hub for Power and Utilities”.
Germany’s recent DESIGNETZ project with a funding of volume of €66 million will help E.ON, Germany’s second-largest power supplier and the consortium leader of this project, to test and integrate distributed energy resources and improve overall grid reliability with the help of real-time data. They will record findings from the project in a system cockpit via a decentralised data hub, the Energy Gateway that allows bidirectional communication. On successful implementation, it could immediately benefit 5.3 million of its customers.
Significant milestones have been reached in Finland, as CGI delivered the last stage of Finland’s Datahub in October 2020. This will enable system availability to test and certify the retail electricity market. The Finnish electricity market includes about 3.7 million electricity accounting points. There are at least 400,000 changes in the number of suppliers annually. With Fingrid Datahub Oy, Finland’s electricity transmission operator can now use this valuable data for realistic use cases and help over 100 Finnish electricity suppliers, 80 DSOs and several service providers.
The Estonian Data Hub system managed by the TSO, Elering grants the user access to grid operators, line operators, and open suppliers operating in Estonia. It ensures equal treatment and it encodes market participants, thus giving all parties access to their own consumption data that is remotely readable in one-hour increments. Elering AS, is also planning a Europe-wide alliance with other TSOs to start a unified joint platform, which is different compared to others who are focusing on building their own. It could facilitate as much as €2 billion savings if rolled out across the whole EU. Marie Kalmet, Head of Systems Services, Elering will join our “Data Hub in Power & Utilities” virtual conclave to share her thoughts on what would be the role of Energy Data Hub in our lives.
Svenska Kraftnät had put their work on data hub or Elmarknadshubb on hold back in September 2020. The national TSO plans wide-scale launches by 2022/2023 as it has been delayed because of legislative packages. This central hub will report aggregated data in case of an imbalance settlement. One of the driving forces for a Datahub is the positive cost-benefit analysis it will provide when distributed processes are centralized. Erica Niemi, Head of Data Analytics at Svenska Kraftnät was a speaker at our first edition of “Data Hub in Power & Utilities”, and shared real-life examples on how to meet challenges in the power system stability, with data.
What can we expect?
While most European states are introducing or reaping the benefits of Data Hubs, it is still quite new in other parts of the world. Australia has joined the Data Hub wave with its recent policy push to fund $2.7 million to Wattwatchers to develop a consumer-facing energy data hub.
Some challenges that are hindering widespread adoption of data hubs are,
Legacy Systems: Organisations that are using legacy systems to manage their data would need a complete overhaul of their systems to effectively implement a data hub- an expensive and time-consuming affair.
Scale: How will organisations deal with the enormous volumes of data effectively?
Security: Making data available to all the relevant energy market players also throws open the issue of security. How can data be stored and exchanged securely?
Competence: Do organisations have skilled personnel who can take on the challenges? Or do they have to train existing talent or hire new talents?
The increasing share of renewables and new participants in the electricity grid (electric vehicles, home energy systems, distributed energy resources) means that data hubs will play a vital role in making our grids cleaner, energy-efficient and more democratic.
Join us online for a dialogue with the pioneers in establishing and operating Data Hubs in the European Power & utility landscape.
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PS: Check out videos on the Fingrid, Energinet and Statnett Data Hubs below.
- February 26, 2021