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Challenges

Europe’s electricity system is in a period of profound change characterized by a shift from centralized fossil fuel power generation supplying passive households, businesses and industry to distributed and decentralized power generation system where households, businesses, and industry are active participants in the grid by offering flexibility and generating renewable energy. Moreover, Europe has committed to ambitious 2030 energy and climate objectives consisting of 40% greenhouse gas reductions, 27% renewable energy increase and 27% energy efficiency increase.
To respond to these challenges and to meet its targets, Europe needs to develop and mature the next generation of competitive technologies and services for the electricity distribution grid at medium and low voltage levels, which are clearly going beyond the state of the art and will be ready to integrate the market in a five to ten years’ period. These technologies and services should enable advanced solutions for demand-response, smart grid, storage, and energy system integration while respecting the needed stability and security in the context of an increasing share of variable renewable energy sources in the electricity grid. This was the scope of a recent H2020 call (LCE-01 2016) titled “The next generation of innovative technologies enabling smart grids, storage, and energy system integration with increasing share of renewables” funded under the program “A Single Smart European Electricity Grid.”
This issue can be addressed by adding flexibility to electric loads, installing significant smart storage equipment and taking advantage of energy conversion. Finally, effective management at district level, taking into account all energy vectors (electricity, gas, thermal), is crucial to make high penetration of renewables sustainable. Currently such high level management system does not exist.
PENTAGON concept development is driven by the following three considerations:
  1.  Energy carriers are usually considered separately in energy management solutions, resulting in an under-optimal use of the capabilities of energy systems. This particularly applies to eco-districts, where the management of energy nodes (loads, distributed production and storage) should better leverage energy networks’ synergy potential.
  2. Eco-districts, defined as urban projects aiming to integrate sustainable development and reduce ecological footprint, are key technology and business enablers of smart grids. Such districts, which feature advanced and versatile energy production and distribution capabilities, have the potential to significantly increase the flexibility at local (low-voltage grid) level through increased collaboration between energy stakeholders (consumers, DSO, utility, aggregator, ESCO).
  3. Energy conversion technologies (e.g. power to gas and power to heat) are mature enough to foresee a wide-scale deployment in the medium term. Such solutions can bring significant benefits provided they are deployed at a scale where their impact is the highest.

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