The subsidy feed in tariff policy, which has recently been adopted for accelerating renewable energy investments, cannot be retained as a sustainable business model for the future smart energy grid. This is mainly because this policy increases the energy cost, especially when the amount of the energy generated by renewable sources is not negligible compared to that generated by traditional ones, as is expected to be the case in the near future. Additionally, the current centralized electricity market prevents small or very small energy producers, who usually generate energy by renewable means (e.g., photovoltaic units or wind turbines), to participate. VIMSEN addresses the aforementioned difficulties by transforming the current centralized electricity market framework into a distributed one, introducing the concept of virtual micro-grid networks. Virtual micro-grids (VMGs) are associations of distributed energy generators and/or micro-grid networks that have agreed to operate on a common basis. VMGs provides flexibility to small or very small energy generators, since:
- they can re-distribute energy resources with each other to compensate energy production-distribution
- they can directly participate in the electricity market through the respective association, which acts similarly as a big power generator unit.
- on an intelligent data metering techniques suitable for the VMG distributed network
- on information and decision making technologies for the dynamic VMG creation in a way to optimize the participants’ benefits and macro-grid perspectives
- on a reliable communication infrastructure that permits Quality of Service (QoS) provisioning for data exchange in the VMG network and
- on an active energy management and control tool for the operation of the virtual micro-grid as a common virtual power unit
Business models to investigate the trade-off between the benefits of the association and the cost of the technologies needed to establish the VMGs will also be developed.