Europe has set itself ambitious climate targets. In order to achieve these targets, renewable energy needs to be shared across borders, so that shortages can be made up and surpluses shared.  

The partners in the CALLIA project are interested in finding out how renewable energy can also be shared, and VITO is a member of the multilateral project consortium that is tasked with doing this.

Need for flexibility

Europe has set targets for lower emissions and it needs renewable energy, and this is where the CALLIA project plays a direct role. The major disadvantage of renewable energy is that it is time-bound; no solar power can be generated if the sun does not shine, and no wind power can be generated on a still day. In order to use renewable energy effectively, we need flexibility, but this flexibility must be clearly defined to enable it to be traded internationally. What is more, network operators in European countries must be given incentives across countries, and good ideas need to be implemented in practice. We not only need to adapt the European network to those plans; we also need to develop a new interface for trade between the different distribution providers, known as a multi-agent system.

Four European countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium and Turkey) have joined forces in the CALLIA project in order to meet this challenge. Pilot projects have been launched in Turkey and Germany, the aim of which is manage demand through a flexibility market. VITO is involved in these projects, and is providing support in the form of widely deployable flexibility models, algorithms, and scalable components for interoperability.

European network

The question is, however, how can renewable energy be fully integrated into the European network? When a country has a surplus of renewable energy, it should be able to release it to the international network. An aggregator is a service that groups the purchasing of energy and energy flexibility.  The risk associated with this aggregator is that all manner of unforeseen circumstances may arise that prevent the purchased flexibility from being realised. There may be lower-than-expected sunshine levels or the wind may drop unexpectedly. VITO is not only conducting research to determine what will happen to the network if renewable energy is distributed, but it is also developing a system in which these kinds of unforeseen circumstances are taken into account and the uncertainty factor is reduced. This makes it possible to develop a scenario that reduces the likelihood of issues occurring in energy distribution. This will give aggregators greater confidence and certainty to make use of this renewable electricity.

The project was launched in 2016 and has now entered its final stage.