The edgeFLEX Platform

As VPP2.0 moves towards smaller and more distributed prosumer-owned assets, the operating conditions and requirements may differ on a case-by-case basis. A VPP operating at a smaller, more local level requires a different set of tools than a VPP operating around a centrally managed wind farm. This variability of use-cases creates a need to move away from a monolithic architecture towards a more modular approach.

The edgeFLEX platform was developed using a microservice architecture. This means that the overall platform is separated into several independent parts, each with its own, narrowly defined function. Each service is deployed to its own container, with a communications interface handling traffic between each container. These services are loosely coupled, meaning that it is possible to freely add or remove connections with other microservices.

Each of the services and interfaces within the edgeFLEX Platform are containerised as part of a microservice architecture. The design was based on the H2020 SOGNO reference architecture, which was extended to incorporate the concept of flexibility trading developed as part of the H2020 GOFLEX project as described in D4.1. The scale of the deployment of the platform may range from a single component to the entire suite of services and interfaces. Therefore, many of the services can be configured to work as a standalone application, or to interface with existing services within the System Operator’s environment, introducing a degree of modularity and flexibility as described in D4.3. For example, a System Operator may have a database service in place and may configure the edgeFLEX services to utilise the existing database in place of the edgeFLEX Persistence service. Given the modular nature of this microservice architecture, an opportunity is presented to make use of open-source software, as the edgeFLEX Databus is extended from the open source DockerMQTT project developed as part of H2020 RESERVE. This in turn creates an incentive to open-source additional components to support future projects where possible.

The edgeFLEX platform has been tested and deployed in the trial site located in Germany, interfacing with external systems to capture and visualise data from the field, enabling flexibility trading and control service functionality, and therefore realising the slow and fast dynamics use cases as detailed in D5.4.