Projects Flexviz and FlexTalk to increase accessibility and visibility of flexible energy resources

Ara Ake and software development company Cortexo recently launched Project Flexviz, an initiative to enhance the visibility and accessibility of energy flexibility across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Project Flexviz offers a platform for flexibility suppliers to report their available resources every five minutes, including battery status, generation capacity, and reducible load demand, at New Zealand’s 200+ Grid Exit Points (GXP) around the country. The project uses international communications protocol Open Automated Demand Response (OpenADR).

Flexviz follows the recent, successful conclusion of Project FlexTalk. Supported by Ara Ake, FlexTalk was a collaborative initiative involving the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA), and industry sponsors.

FlexTalk examined existing open communication protocols and their potential applications in New Zealand. The project used live events to assess the feasibility and interoperability of OpenADR.

The results demonstrated the successful use of a common communications protocol between electricity distribution businesses (EDBs) and flexibility suppliers (aggregators) to manage distributed energy resources at the consumer level, such as EV chargers and solar/battery installations.

In May 2024, Project FlexTalk reached its final milestone with the publishing of two reports:

  1. FlexTalk: The demand flexibility common communication protocols project final report: This report explains the importance of demand flexibility, international trends, the tests conducted, findings, and project recommendations.
  2. FlexTalk: OpenADR technical insights: This document provides detailed technical insights into the testing methodology and findings.

FlexTalk also identified several challenges. EDBs expressed concerns about accessing flexibility, while suppliers with flexibility resources struggled with visibility and access mechanisms. Additionally, mechanisms to compensate flexibility suppliers for their services remain underdeveloped. Project Flexviz aims to address some of these challenges.

Goals of Project Flexviz

The flexibility resources are connected to an OpenADR endpoint (a Virtual End Node or VEN), standardised, and sent to an OpenADR server (a Virtual Top Node or VTN), where they are aggregated at the GXP level. This could enable market players including Transpower and EDBs to see the total available flexibility on their networks, ready for dispatch using the proven OpenADR standard.

Project Flexviz aims to increase visibility by encouraging more flexibility suppliers to join and facilitate commercial arrangements, by enabling market participants to access and utilise flexibility resources. By harnessing available flexibility, Flexviz aims to reduce the need for energy usage cuts during peak times, such as cold winter mornings.

For more information about Project Flexviz, please contact Cortexo at [email protected].