E-DeMa: Development And Demonstration Of Locally Networked Energy Systems To The E-Energy Marketplace Of The Future


Project nameE-DeMa
Leading organizationRWE Deutschland AG, Germany
Other ParticipantsSiemens, Miele, SWK Setec, ProSyst, TU Dortmund, RUB, University DuE, all Germany
Market structureEnergy Only Market
Number of retail customers in Germany40 million
Electricity consumption in Germany- 2012595 billion kWh
ContactProf. Michael Laskowski, RWE RWN, 0201-121228567, michael.laskowski@rwe.com


E-DeMa: Development And Demonstration Of Locally Networked Energy Systems To The E-Energy Marketplace Of The Future

The energy turnaround in Germany is strongly correlated to the increasing renewable energy sector and changes in the power generation system. The increasing fluctuating feed-in from renewable power plants leads consequently to generation-oriented electricity consumption. This affects the industrial, commercial and the household energy sector in Germany. The focus of E-DeMa is the electricity consumption of the household sector. E-DeMa is one of the six E-Energy projects carrying out research activities regarding the customers’ acceptance of advanced Smart Grid technologies. E-DeMa is founded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) with the aim to develop and demonstrate local energy markets. The model region is located in the Western part of Germany (Rhine-Ruhr-area) and 657 customers in the household sector were provided with new electricity products and advanced in-house communication systems.


Objectives & Benefits

The objective is to examine the demand side management potential of customers in a field test. The project also analyzes the influence of the E-DeMa products and incentives on the load shifting behavior of households.

In the E-DeMa field test, the participating end customers have been provided with two different types of Smart Grid infrastructure. The table gives an overview of the two groups of customers. Both customer groups are equipped with a Smart Metering System and an access to the E-DeMa marketplace which has been developed in the project. Customer group 1 is also equipped with a tablet computer. In addition to the Smart Metering System and the access to the marketplace, customer group 2 has been provided with automatichousehold devices (washing machine and laundry dryer or dish washer), an Energy Management Gateway and a Home Energy Control User Interface (HECUI).

The inhouse infrastructure of customer group 2 in the field test is shown. The Smart Metering System in the households consists of two parts: the Smart Meter (electricity, gas or water) and the communication gateway. The communication gateway requests the data from the Smart Meters frequently over an optical interface and provides them to the E-DeMa data management system and to the Energy Management Gateway. The Energy Management gateway provides the tariff information to the customer and to the shiftable load devices (e.g. white goods), as well as to distributed energy resources (DER) via a wireless or wired Home Area Network (HAN). The gateways communicate through a secure and reliable IP based access network with the E-DeMa marketplace which is the central infrastructure entity of the E-DeMa system. The E-DeMa marketplace provides the end customer with important information regarding his individual electricity consumption. Via his personal computer, the customer is able to view his daily energy consumption. The energy consumption is shown in detail (electricity consumption of every 15 minutes) after the day of the consumption.

Group 1Group 2
Number of customers550107
EquipmentSmart Metering System
Access to E-Energy Marketplace

Furthermore, the customer receives a monthly record about his energy consumption behavior at the marketplace.
The access to the HECUI is provided to customer group 2 over the customer’s personal computer. In contrast to the information on the marketplace, the customer is able to see his energy consumption during the current day and the daily schedule and status of his automatic household devices.

The automatic household devices have a smart start function which allows the customer to set a desired end time when the program has to be finished at the latest. The Energy Management Gateway is connected to the automatic householddevices and chooses the optimal time according to the current tariffs in the time frame between the setting and the end time. Another objective of the E-DeMa project is to promote and enable a faster change of the energy supplier through the customer

In Germany the household customers are able to choose between different retailers. Today, a change of a retailer can be executed within 14 days. Using the In E-DeMa. marketplace as an information hub, the E-DeMa participant is able to change his retailer within three days. The contract period with the new supplier is  valid at least one month. After this month the customer can choose another product from another retailer. The faster process is verified in the field test with customer group 1. This group of households is able to choose from different products of different retailers with a minimum contract term of one month. Available for the product selection are time-of-use products and consumption-dependent-products.

The two time-of-use products either have a 2-tariff-structure or a 5-tariff-structure. The prices for the 2-tariff-structure-product change every month of the field test and the prices of the 5-tariff-structure-product can change every day. The aim of these time-of-use products is to shift the customers’ load from times of high electricity consumption, e.g. in the early evening, to times with low consumption. The 2-tariff-structure-product consists of three time frames with the two tariffs: low price throughout the night (midnight – 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. – midnight) and medium price during  the day (7 a.m. – 9 p.m.). The 5-tariff-structure-product is more  complex than the 2-tariff-structure-product due to eight different time frames. The figures above show the tariff-structure where the high and highest prices are  valid during midday (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and the early evening hours (5 – 9 p.m.).

Due to the provided equipment, customer group 2 cannot choose but gets their product assigned. This group cannot change between products. Two different products have been designed for this customer group in E-DeMa. Both products have the same 5-tariff-structure, which is explained above, on the demand side as well. This means that the product on the demand side of customer group 2 is the same than for the customers in group 1, who choose the 5-tariff- structure- product.

In addition to customer group 1, the customers of customer group 2 are able to use the smart start function of  their automatic household devices so that the Energy Management Gateway shifts their load to times of low prices. The other product has one additional function: the possibility to market the power and energy of their automatic household appliances via the Gateway.

The aggregator is a new market role resulting from marketing flexibilities (in households) and decentralized feeds. Only the aggregation of the flexibilities offers benefits in the marketing. The added value is the refining of the flexibilities to tradable products. In general, the aggregator enables customers to offer the power and energy of their load appliances (flexibility) to other market players on the electricity market. In the E-DeMa project, the aggregator offers a product to the customer which requires the customer’s provision of white goods for load shifting between 9 am and 6 pm. With an appropriate ICT-infrastructure (always under the aspect of a secure data communication), the white goods are connected to the aggregator’s system so that the aggregator is able to start the appliances, e.g. when great benefit at the electricity market or the reserve power market can be realized. The remuneration for each provision by the customer is 0.35€. If the customer achieves a total number of 40 provisions during the field test, the customer will receive an additional payment of 20€.

Summarized, on the one hand the customers can provide their appliances to the energy management gateway, which shifts the start of the appliances into the time frame with the lowest price. On the other hand, customer group 2 can provide the appliances between 9 am and 6 pm to the aggregator, who starts the appliances whenever he expects revenues from marketing the energy of the loads.

To evaluate the load shift of the E-DeMa households, a reference household is necessary. The reference household is created by using the standard load profile for households (so called H0-profile) from the distribution system operator in the Rhine-Ruhr-area. The average shifts in load are calculated by comparing the average of test house consumptions to a reference household consumption during the same period.


Current Status & Results

The data of the end customer which has been measured during the field test is analyzed regarding the load shifting for the different products and incentives. The focus of the evaluation of each month of the field test is to get information about the time-dependent load shifting behavior and the seasonal influence. The load shift on the five characteristic days “Monday”, “Tuesday to Thursday”, “Friday”, “Saturday” and “Sunday” can reveal the behavior during the week. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are aggregated due to the similar life habits on these days.

On the one hand, the results are calculated separately for the two customer groups (different equipment). On the other hand, the results are shown for passive and active E-DeMa households. In a field trial with up to 700 participants,
some customers relatively quickly lose the motivation to participate but do not actively  unsubscribe. In order to distinguish the results of these customers from customers who respond to the incentives, the E-DeMa consortium has chosen to differentiate between active and passive customers. For this, the monetary savings of E-DeMa customers with the E-DeMa price structure was compared to the reference customer (customer with the standard load profile scaled with the same daily consumption).

To get information about the load shifting behavior over the time of the field test and the seasonal influence, the average load shift into the time frames with ST and NT resp. out of the time frames with HHT1 and HHT2 per month is summarized and divided by the total average energy consumption of each month. The load shift per characteristic day is calculated by aggregating the average load shift into the time frames with ST and NT resp. out of the time frames with HHT1 and HHT2 per characteristic day and dividing by the total average energy consumption of each characteristic day.

At the top of the figure X, the results of customer group 1 with the 5-tariff-structure are shown for both passive and active
households. The results for customer group 2 (automatic household devices) are shown beneath it. Regardless of the equipment of the households, the distinction between the load shifting behavior of the passive and the active households is displayed very clearly. The load shift of the passive households has a random character without any significance structure.
The results of the active households show a significant continuous load shift into the lowest and low price timeframes during the night (from 7% to 11%) and out of the expensive time frames around noon and the early evening hours (up to nearly 5%).

In comparison to customer group 1, the active customers of customer group 2 shifted more loads into the time frames during times frames with low prices. However, the customers showed signs of exhaustion in their consumption shift. In the first months, active customers shifted an average load of nearly 10% into the lowest or low price time frames. Then, the load shift decreases with the field trial to nearly 7% in November. The passive customers of customer group 2 showed more efficient load shift than the passive customers without automation. Yet, the load shifting behavior was not very significant in comparison to the load shift of the active households.

The results of the investigation of the load shift on each characteristic day indicates that the active customers with automatic household devices shifted their consumption relatively evenly across all days into the lowest price and low price tariff times. Customers without automation shifted less consumption in these tariff times at the weekend. Similarly, the load shift of customer group 2 around midday (HHT1 or high price) is more constant on all days than the load shift of customer group 1 without automation. The characteristic of the load shift on Sundays does not depend on the equipment. There is always a high load shift out of the time frame around noon (HHT1 high price) and a low load shift into the early evening hours (HHT2 highest price). This indicates that the customers might be interested in load shifting, but on Sunday’s life habits and privacy are more important.

The two tables summarize the product-specific load shift results for active and passive households with the 2-tariff structure and the 5 tariff-structure. Applies to both products: the active customers shift a high percentage of their consumption into the time frames with lowest and low prices (8.7% and 8.2%) and from the expensive peak hours high price (-4%) and highest price (- 2.3%). The passive customers only shift relatively small amounts of consumption.

They shift their consumption even from the low tariff period and in the expensive highest price tariff time. It is also evident that the sum of load shift into the lowest and low price time frames of the 5-tariff-structure approximately corresponds to the load shift into the low price tariff-structure of the 2-tariff-product. This means that the differentiation of the lowest and low price time frames was not identified by customers. One reason for this is the time window from midnight to 6 a.m. in the morning. Because of their daily schedule, it is hardly possible for the customer to shift the consumption manually into these times. Secondly, the customer survey revealed that the customers’ aim is to shift their consumption into green visualized time frames. Although the lowest and low price off-peak hours were visualized in two different shades of green, the households apparently did not differentiate between them.

The economic potential of the aggregator depends on the further marketing of the aggregated power and energy. In this use case, the analysis of the potential is focusing on the approximation of the minimum costs of the aggregator which arise due to ICT-Infrastructure. The costs per provision decrease with an increasing number of provisions by the households per  year. This is primarily due to the relatively high ICT installation costs of the aggregator. Furthermore, the maximal power of load devices in households has to be considered. The maximum installed power of each load device used by the aggregator in E-DeMa is approx. 2 kW. Of course, this power is not available during the whole period of operation. A washing machine for example will only reach the maximal power during the heating process which endures approx. 15 minutes. Supposing that e.g. every fifth use of the participating household devices (≈ 3,400) per year is provided to the aggregator, the resulting costs for the aggregator to be covered by a third party are about 8.30 € per provision, which means about 4.15 €/kW respectively 415 €/MW for 15 minutes. A constant providing of power for the duration of a few hours is expected being very difficult to achieve for the aggregator. For that, a high number of aggregated load devices who are set on stand-by and a more diverse portfolio (not only aggregation on white goods) are needed.

Comparing the minimum costs of the aggregator e.g. to the demand rate of the tertiary reserve in the year 2011, the estimated costs to be covered by a third party for the flexibility of the aggregator are still higher today. An expected reduction of the costs for ICT infrastructure may change this situation. In future, new markets for the distribution level
might realize the marketing of the flexibility in households.

Lessons Learned & Best Practices

In general, the results of the load shift in the field trial show that the customers easily show signs of fatigue and need to be closely assisted in order to realize the load shift sustainably. The most important results are:

  • The load shift into the night is independent of the complexity of the tariff structure during the day.
  • High-end equipment does not necessarily lead to a higher load shift. Active customers achieved a load shift of up to 11% per month and nearly 10%  per characteristic day, regardless of the customer group.
  • The load shift decreases with the duration of the field test.
  • The acceptance of automatic household devices requires both a certain start-up time and close customer support.

Overall, it is important to “activate” the customer. This means that customers must actively allow the automation to control their loads. Particular note is the fact that active customers without automation achieve a much more efficient load shift than passive customers with automation. The top priority must therefore be to motivate the customers not only by appropriate incentives but also by raising awareness of the impact of their consumption behavior.


Key Regulations, Legislation & Guidelines

It is an issue of business models of each stakeholders to enforce demand side management in Germany.

The different objectives of the business models of the various market players for load shifting in households illustrate that the load shifting measures affect each other. An overarching concept for coordinating the interests of market players has not been developed and is found neither in the current legislation nor in discussion papers or determination of the Federal Network Agency procedure.

The electricity cost savings so far are smaller than the costs for the required smart meter and the display (e.g. tablet computer). Even if business models exist, that households do not have to pay for the smart meter infrastructure, there are still missing standardized data exchange processes. If an aggregator shifts the household’s loads, standardized data exchange processes between the different market players are essential.

For example, if the aggregator uses controllable appliances to provide negative tertiary control, the system load (at a correspondingly high number of customers) and therefore the target load profile of the distribution system operator changes. Depending on the feed-in, load and system load, the objectives of the different market players can have a destructive or constructive effect and thus affect the target load profiles of individual market players.

Furthermore, today, the incentives for load shifting which households can refer to are very small.


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