Our Projects | EDF PowerShift
A proof of concept approach to support a decentralised energy model
EDF is Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity*, meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand and supplying millions of customers with electricity and gas.
EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. EDF generate low carbon electricity from eight nuclear power stations, more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms and operate one of Britain’s biggest battery storage units and thousands of EV charge-points.
This changing landscape has introduced an increase in market volatility and impact on the Grid. Businesses would need to be able to respond quickly and effectively to thrive. Many EDF customers were looking at, or had already implemented, onsite generation and battery storage for example. With this increasing level of connectivity being demanded by a growing number of energy generators and storage systems, this was adding even greater complexity to the ability to balance the network and keep it stable.
EDF however identified that this decentralised energy model could provide businesses with further opportunity in terms of balancing consumption and generation. If businesses were able to shift their energy consumption when UK electricity demand from the Grid threatens to exceed supply – and if there could be added incentive in the form of energy-saving and revenue earning potential through trading – this could help balance the Grid and deliver sustainable financial returns.
Enabling assets to be controlled to reduce or shift energy demand – the PowerShift platform would optimise, control and trade over 250MW of assets helping to keep the Grid balanced and enabling customers to earn revenues from flexibility services.
*UK Fuel Mix disclosure information, published by the Government (BEIS) recognises electricity from wind, solar and nuclear fuel produces zero carbon dioxide emissions at the point of generation. https://www.edfenergy.com/zero-carbon
EDF’s Flexibility, Optimisation and Trading platform
Interact: Customers can log onto the platform and view asset details, manage asset availability, and view future scheduling.
Control: Remote asset monitoring and control (with assets being turned up/down or on/off) to reduce or shift energy demand and consumption.
Optimise and Trade: Combining data analytics, controls technology and live wholesale market feeds to determine the optimal times to operate and trade assets, and the viability of new business models for flexible generation assets. Backed by a 24-hour shift desk.
Delivery of a successful pilot
Recognising a market opportunity, EDF Energy’s innovation accelerator Blue Lab kicked off an initial pilot. The project aimed to showcase how they could connect customers (large industrial and commercial generators) with EDF’s Wholesale market trading desks to deliver greater flexibility and control in the management of energy assets, whilst creating new revenue streams.
Establishing an experienced team including EDF, Capula (automation and control partner), and AWS (cloud development partner), Blue Lab would deliver a proof of concept within an expedited 12 week timeline demonstrating the user requirements, use cases and a subsequent prototype for market viability testing. This initial project focused on the control of small diesel generators.
PowerShift was established as EDF’s flexibility platform that enables customers to manage and monetise their energy assets.
Capula was initially selected to support the proof of concept to deliver a scalable and sustainable monitoring and control capability that could be hosted in the Cloud, with a specific focus on the Asset Management System (AMS).
The AMS is responsible for the monitoring and control of distributed assets throughout the UK, powering them on and off in response to energy schedules and market supply commitments.
Having delivered a successful proof of concept in an accelerated 8-week timescale, Capula was selected as an integral part of the project to support the delivery and iterative development of the platform, including strengthening the functionality and gradual onboarding of more and varying energy asset types.
The key tenets of the Capula solution included:
Flexible software architecture and design
During the early proof of concept phase, Capula was instrumental in consulting on the overall platform architecture. With vast experience of the elected platform technology, PTC’s ThingWorx, Capula led the design and development of the platform’s open architecture working closely with AWS, the cloud partner.
Adopting a truly agile approach, Capula used innovative methods during both the proof of concept and prototyping phases, including remote witness testing where the system test was recorded and deployed to widen engagement.
Data and system interoperability
During this early proof of concept phase, the platform needed to seamlessly present and connect several legacy and new asset systems owned and controlled by different companies and using various data sources.
Drawing on over 50 years of working in industrial environments including generation, transmission and distribution; and as a Systems Integrator with an Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) backbone, Capula was quick to lead on the interoperability of the various data sources. Building edge gateways to allow the system to communicate with the physical asset, Capula developed the platform so it could collect and control data being ingested into the system.
Capula developed the platform so it could collect and control the data being ingested into the system and led the development to extend the initial data sets into new assets types, specifically the evolution into wind assets.
Digital twin asset models
Being able to digitally model the various energy assets into the system was critical in the early proof of concept stage. Capula led the development of the core asset model (parameters and characteristics) for the diesel generator during these initial stages
including basic descriptions of the assets and their generation capacity.
Further development of the platform will look to deliver an enduring solution, strengthening functionality and gradual onboarding of more and varying energy asset types.