EU-SysFlex blog: Portuguese FlexHub: Unlocking the flexibility of distribution assets


To comply with the European goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, power systems have been integrating ever higher levels of renewable energy sources (RES) – and similar upwards trends are expected for the next few years. To accommodate this high level of renewable generation – mainly from non-synchronous sources – power systems must undergo structural changes while maintaining a reliable and cost-efficient service.

One of the main evidences of these structural changes is the high percentage of this non-synchronous RES that is expected to be connected at the distribution level, forcing distribution and transmission system operators (DSO and TSO) to change operational and planning procedures and increase their coordination. Historically, for the power system planning and operation, the TSO would model distribution networks as a passive constant power model without any dynamic characterization, whilst the DSO would model only their voltages levels without considering any important interaction with the transmission network. This coordination between DSO and TSO is one of the most important challenges to be tackled.

To this mean EDP and INESC TEC have jointly designed the Flexibility Hub (FlexHub), a concept that is going to be implemented and demonstrated within the EU-SysFlex project, which is a TSO-DSO coordination platform trying to address several of these challenges.

Flexibility Hub (FlexHub)

The FlexHub tools and demonstration aim to address the challenges coming from scenarios of high RES power levels (above 50%) where new strategies are needed to allow maximum flexibility at minimum cost, while maintaining a secure and stable system operation. In such scenarios, and due to the progressive decommissioning of conventional gas and coal power plants (to comply with the EU decarbonisation objectives) there will be:

  1. An increasing TSO need for frequency regulation and balancing reserves provision due to the variability of RES
  2. A need for additional reactive power regulation

In addition…[read more]