GO-e consortium investigates energy flexibility in built environment

March 23, 2021

The newly established Consortium GO-e (Built Environment Electrification) is investigating whether smart flexibility services can offer an alternative for strengthening the electricity grid in the built environment. The partnership consists of regional grid operators, service and technology suppliers, consultants and knowledge institutions, together with consumers and commercial energy users. It is up to TU / e to ensure that the choices of today are also beneficial in the longer term and that they do not hinder future developments. RVO has awarded the consortium a subsidy of 5.7 million euros for the project which will run until 2024.

The increasing number of heat pumps, electric cars and solar panels in the built environment poses major challenges, such as the prevention of overload in the regional (and national) electricity system. However, increased use and development of these technologies also offers opportunities to deploy smart flexibility services in the built environment on a large scale.

Flexibility as an alternative for grid reinforcement

Flexibility is created when the use or generation of electricity can be varied over time. For example, by charging electric cars at night rather than during the daytime, when the electricity grid is much more heavily utilized. Heat pumps can also offer flexibility. The use of flexibility is often mentioned as an alternative to grid reinforcement. To determine how realistic this is, GO-e develops calculation tools and methodologies with which regional grid operators can make substantiated decisions about whether, when, where and how flexibility can be used to prevent overloading of the electricity grid. Project coordinator Bob Ran (TNO): “In doing so, we investigate which incentives motivate consumers and companies to provide flexibility to the grid operator. GO-e thus not only contributes to the implementation of the ‘reinforcement unless’ framework of Netbeheer Nederland, but also takes crucial steps towards the realization of a future flexible energy system."

Flexibility of energy consumption

In order to have sufficient flexibility available in the energy system in the future, the GO-e consortium will develop scalable flex services. This makes it possible for consumers and companies to automatically and effortlessly make flexibility from cars, for example, available to their energy supplier. The energy supplier then ensures that this contributes to a better utilization of local energy sources and facilitates a reduction of the increasing peak load of regional electricity grids.

Inclusive solutions

The large-scale flexibilization of our electricity use can only succeed if end users participate on a large scale. That is why consumers and business energy users are central to the design of the flex services and products in GO-e. In 4 living labs, the preferences of end users are therefore already taken into account during the design phase of the services. Three living labs are located in residential areas in Houten, Heeten and Loenen (Veluwe), where flexibility services for consumers are being developed. The fourth is an Albert Heijn distribution center where services are developed to make smart use of flexibility from charging electric trucks.

Validation under realistic circumstances

Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) will be leading the technical validation of the mechanisms utilizing flexibility as developed within the project. This will be done through rigorous simulation of scenarios in a realistic future context, using a number of archetypical neighbourhoods and corresponding transition scenarios. This is to determine in which cases flexibility can be used to prevent grid overloading in urban environments. “The industry parties in the consortium aim to develop decision frameworks and flexibility services that can be implemented shortly after the project is finished,” according to Koen Kok, professor Intelligent Energy Systems at TU/e. “Validation in realistic future scenarios is important to ensure the short-term choices are the right ones in the long run as well. These should not be hampering future developments.



The GO-e consortium is a collaboration of Alliander, Enexis, Stedin, ElaadNL, Greenchoice, Recoy, Itho Daalderop, ETPA, Technolution, Phase to Phase, DNV GL, Witteveen + Bos, TU Eindhoven, TU Delft, led by TNO. Together with the end users from the living labs, this consortium represents the entire chain of parties that is necessary for flexibilization to be successful. The consortium received a subsidy of 5.7 million euros from RVO under the MOOI scheme of the Top Sector Energy (MOOI: Mission-driven Research Development and Innovation).


More information: prof.dr. Koen Kok