edgeFLEX starts a series of monthly insights of the project from the perspective of the project partners. Enjoy reading them.

Inside edgeFLEX

Today: Ericsson
How 5G can better support power operators

With the dramatic growth of renewables, now is the time to revise the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) concept and this is the challenge edgeFLEX addresses. VPPs need to support not only the promotion of intermittent Renewable Energy Sources (RES) but also the integration of all Distributed Energy Resources (DER) into the full scope of grid operations. Such a leap is enabled by the new edgeFLEX architecture for VPPs in which communications, supported by 5G, correspond to multiple layers of dynamics, pave the way for a fully renewable energy system.

We are happy that we are currently planning a demonstration for an edgeFLEX stand at the EuCNC and 6G Summit conference in Grenoble in June! EuCNC will be our first edgeFLEX stand at a conference as the project started in April 2020 during the Covid-19 lock-downs. Despite everyone working from home and no face-to-face meetings being possible, the relationships between the project partners developed very well based on our many virtual meetings. We lightened up the isolated environment of the project partners with chocolates and tea packages sent directly to the homes of all project participants based in many different European countries!

On the stand at EuCNC, we plan to demonstrate results of our work in the project, such as those of our 5G latency tests. By runing laboratory tests in live 5G networks in Aachen, Germany, we investigated how 5G can support the edgeFLEX services.  Additionally, we had the opportunity to try out the brand-new testbed for the new 5G feature Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) which will provide even lower latency and higher reliability than currently available 5G versions.

Exposing 5G capabilities to vertical sector applications is a hot topic at the moment, and we in Ericsson were lucky to be able to investigate this topic for the power network domain and define the benefits and use cases for the exposed capabilities. In edgeFLEX, we are showing newly developed 5G enhancements providing VPP operators with the possibility to work together with Distribution System Operators (DSOs) enabling better monitoring and control and faster stabilisation of the power grid. The secure and reliable data exchange between the assets of VPP operators and the services of DSOs can be enabled by exposing 5G capabilities through new exposure capability interfaces. These interfaces can help VPPs and DSO’s to integrate 5G more easily and quickly in their existing infrastructure reducing their monitoring, control, and trading challenges. Thus, 5G will not only be able to support the existing needs of the power operators, additionally it will also enable new business cases in the coming years for the sector actors in the power domain!

Felix Maier, Tuana Ensezgin, Robert Farac, Fiona Williams