Our Projects | EDF PowerShift
Delivering an innovative and flexible platform to balance the Grid and keep it stable
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
A successful pilot solution was developed in an accelerated timeline. A proof of concept solution was developed to demonstrate 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.
The initial project was focused on the control of small diesel generators, however within a year this had been extended to include other assets including battery optimisation.
Following successful market validation 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
Following the successful delivery of the proof of concept phase, and with vast experience of the PTC’s ThingWorx technology, Capula continued to lead the design and development of the platform’s open architecture working closely with AWS, the cloud partner.
Data and system interoperability
The continued development of the platform focused on presenting and connecting an increasing number of legacy and new asset systems, many owned and controlled by different companies and managed 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 had already successfully demonstrated the interoperability of various data sources during the proof of concept phase.
Capula continued to lead on the overall data and system interoperability, building edge gateways to allow the system to communicate with the physical asset.
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
During the early proof of concept stage, Capula demonstrated how they could digitally model the various energy assets into the platform, developing the core asset model (parameters and characteristics) for the diesel generator. This included the basic descriptions of the asset and their generation capacity.
In delivering a more enduring solution, this quickly evolved to the development of more advanced, digital twin data models; such as the inclusion of dispatch schedules to help the system understand and control asset behaviours, and market contracting information to identify market characteristics for each asset type. Some of the core enhancements to the platform included collecting and presenting live metering data; allowing operators to view how the assets perform in real-time; and controlling assets in the balancing mechanism, using more complex calculations and algorithms.
Further platform development includes evolving the system to include more asset types – moving from diesel generators and batteries, into wind and solar assets.
Rapid application development and operations
Working from the proof of concept phase through to the full production environment, Capula’s expertise of the system architecture enabled more rapid user adoption and speed of deployment of new functionality.
With an open system architecture, combined with in-depth expertise of the core ThingWorx technology, Capula led the iterative development of AMS both in terms of functionality and the gradual onboarding of more and varying energy asset types. A core focus was enabling more assets, systems and data sources to be consumed into the platform, and with many not in the original scope, the platform was developed in an iterative and agile way.
Rapid application development capability was critical, and Capula focused on speed of deployment and automated release strategies to allow the EDF PowerShift team to ‘fail fast’ and easily test outcomes. For instance, from the initial stages of the project to the full production environment, Capula was able to deliver automatic deployments to the production environment within 30 minutes compared to a 5-hour time during the proof of concept phase.
These development methods helped to deliver unparalleled enhancements to the platform allowing the team to focus on identifying new and emerging revenue streams – a truly adaptable and flexible system.
Further development of the platform will look to include the evolution of the different asset types into wind and solar. The approach to collecting real-time data – including extending the use of communication protocols – will achieve a common approach such that each asset control partner can deliver the data required more easily and in the right format to enhance the functionality and scope of the platform.