Unlocking the Potential of Clean Behind-the-Meter Energy Devices

19 Submissions
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Collaboration
Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

How can we improve the visibility and reliability of the low voltage (LV) grid, and unlock the potential of behind-the-meter energy resources for both system operators and consumers?

The Seekers attending the Showcase Event for this Nexus Challenge, invite novel or maturing solutions, innovators and collaborators with potential relevance, including systems, tools, new materials, technologies, services, insights, expertise, best practices, start-ups, and identification of promising concepts, any of which can contribute to a submission of interest or with future potential.

As the global power energy system undergoes significant transformation, there is a major business challenge and opportunity around Distributed Energy Resources (DER).

This Challenge is focused on the clean, emergent behind-the-meter devices (individual or community driven) driving DER expansion which presently have very limited transparency to grid providers and system operators. These devices are for example solar power systems, electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps.

Your proposals are invited in these two key areas (further described below), and we are very open to other or combined innovations:

  1. Improving visibility of system operation insights, leading to better forecast and analysis
  2. Provide a more reliable and flexible grid connection to reduce the risks and disturbances.
     

This is a Nexus Challenge seeking partners to join Wazoku Innovation Networks (WIN) for Climate, to provide solutions, technologies or expertise with future potential for this Challenge. The Solver is invited to submit their written proposal. Successful entrants will be invited to Showcase their work, with the scope to pitch your idea to a curated selection of corporate partners from R&D, Corporate Venturing, Innovation, Product teams and beyond. These pitches in private sessions can help you land pilots, investment or other commercial opportunities, and help you grow faster. Wazoku will support you during the process, including mentoring and preparation for any Showcase pitch.

Proposals from Solver Scouts (WIN Scouts) who propose potentially suitable partners are also invited to participate.

- Login or register your interest to start networking! - 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 (US Eastern Time) on November 7th, 2023.

 

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

Wazoku Innovation Networks (WIN) focus on the key themes of Climate, Health, Security, and Inclusion. These networks are where global organizations and institutions connect with the brightest start-ups and technology crowdsourced from every corner of the globe.

Nexus Challenges provide the themes and focus for WIN.

Nexus Challenges use the power of crowdsourcing, scouts and collective intelligence to identify, select, mentor and showcase best in class, often novel solutions. Spanning across verticals including Healthcare, Energy, Defense & Aerospace, Financial Services, Mobility, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Water, Materials & Packaging and beyond.

Find out more about WIN and Nexus Challenges.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Background

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) are small-scale energy resource solutions (individual or community-driven) usually situated near sites of electricity consumption or storage, such as rooftop solar panels, battery storage (Electric Vehicle (EV) or house), heat pumps and thermal boilers. Their rapid expansion is transforming not only the way electricity is generated.

This Nexus challenge is focused on the clean, emergent behind-the-meter devices driving DER expansion which presently have very limited transparency.

The need is to provide concepts, solutions or expertise to support the building out of DERs and offer opportunities to small-scale providers to benefit by participating and offering their surplus energy back into the grid.

Many jurisdictions are just beginning to understand how DERs fit into the wider energy landscape – what they are and what impacts they have on the grid, and how they can be used to improve system reliability and reduce overall energy costs.

Globally many regions or individual utility providers have built up experience with DERs, demonstrating that they can provide valuable services to the grid when incentivised with appropriate technologies, policies and regulations. Nonetheless, countries do not all use the same electricity market model or are at the same stage of DER penetration, and the fit-for-purpose solutions will vary from place to place.

For clean devices located behind-the-meter, the demand response, energy efficiency, and the controls and design of the systems that coordinate individual devices, become increasingly important to understand and mutually leverage.

 

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS

Areas to target could include concepts to support more reliable and flexible grid connections, voltage levelling approaches to minimise grid disturbances, solutions or concepts for system inertia changes, the real-time ability to predict consumer loads and to provide a protocol and knowledge of the location, installation configurations and power capacity of behind-the-meter devices.The proposed model or method is computationally efficient.

How can we better unlock visibility of this low voltage (LV) grid and the potential of these behind-the-meter energy resources for both system operators and consumers in these two key areas?

  1. Improving visibility of system operation insights, leading to better forecast and analysis;

    There is a potential misfit in that behind-the-meter DER are installed mostly for individual’s own benefits, causing misalignment between these DER owners and system operators. This has been somewhat advanced by the installation of smart meters, however a greater "fit-for-purpose" level of visibility is needed to help all within the energy system to better plan and to determine new, more creative business models for small-scale providers of surplus energy to participate and gain a fair share of return on their contributions back into the grid.

    Two important dimensions (we are open to more) needing solutions, emerging practice understanding and requiring fresh thinking, are 1) identifying and predicting, 2) real-time monitoring.

    What would be an ideal combination of available data and analytical tools and interoperability, and what needs to be considered in standards and regulations to better achieve these?

     
  2. Provide a more reliable and flexible grid connection to reduce the risks and disturbances;

    Grid investment needs to rethink reliability and flexibility. There is the potential for too many disturbances without local inverter functions, not resolving the variables of voltage/frequency ride-through and voltage regulations to minimise grid variance issues.  The system inertia changes that a growing DER system might present introduces needs for solutions and best practices for flexible grid connection to reflect their impact on grid management needs to provide constant, reliable power 24/7.

    Reliability is highly critical, yet we are seeing higher grid disturbances, and system restoration is becoming even more complicated. Disturbances originating from behind the meter need resolution as many of today's grids were not designed for bi-directional power flows and can severely limit grid connection arrangements.

    Electrification is becoming more prevalent, with multiple use cases like replacing gas boilers with heat pumps causing higher evening peak loads. Potential issues are not limited to changes in timing of demand; energy exported from behind-the-meter devices can unexpectedly increase local voltage levels risking an overload of the local grid design, posing new challenges for grid stability.

    What solutions are available or innovative concepts that can be considered for addressing these problems? What possible innovation collaborations or working designs could address the numerous behind-the-meter problems in this area?

We invite you also to consider aspects like consumer behaviour that cut across both our key challenge areas. For example, consider devices and technical solutions, insights and incentives for consumers to preheat buildings when solar generation is abundant, to shift heat pump loads away from evening peak hours.

 

Solutions with Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) 1-9 are invited; with ideas about WHAT to do; concepts/solutions with HOW to achieve this; collaboration proposals about existing mature technologies and/or WHO can provide these. 

The below graphic will indicate what some potential outcomes from this Challenge might be, if you are shortlisted and there is sufficient interest in your submission at a Showcase Event:

Nexus Challenges have the following features:

  1. Wazoku and experienced theme advisors will evaluate your submission to decide its relevance for inclusion as a successful entrant to Showcase.
  2. The Showcase preparation stages will take place starting within 30 days of the submission due date.
  3. Wazoku will support you during the process, including mentoring and preparation to Showcase your proposal.
  4. In the event further contact is requested following your Showcase activities, you can negotiate the terms of the contract (including scope of work, tasks, and duration) directly with the interested Seeker.
  5. If you are successful in winning any business or investment, a flat 10% success fee will be payable to Wazoku for any financial benefits gained through the process.
  6. Successful WIN Scouts will be compensated by Wazoku from the success fee.
  7. Any confidentiality and intellectual property rights in your Proposed Solution will be managed in accordance with the Challenge Agreement for this Challenge.

 

YOUR SUBMISSION

Please login and register your interest, to complete the submission form.

The submitted proposals must be written in English and should include:

  1. Participation type – you will first be asked to inform us how you are participating in this challenge, as a Solver Individual, Solver Organization, Expert or WIN Scout.
  2. Solution Key Area - the Key Area your proposal addresses; 1, 2, 3 or a combination.
  3. Solution Stage - the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of your solution, TRL1-3 ideation stage, TRL4-6 proof of concept stage, TRL7-9 production ready stage or not applicable (if your submission is as an expert or scout).
  4. Experience - expertise, use cases and skills you or your organisation have in relation to your proposal (up to 500 words).
  5. Problem & Opportunity - the Problem you are addressing in the Key Area and who benefits by your solution (up to 500 words).
  6. Solution Features - the key features of your solution and how they address the problem (up to 500 words, there is space to add more).
  7. Solution Risks - any risks you see with your solution and how you would plan for this (up to 500 words).
  8. Timeline, capability and costs - describe what you think is required to deliver the solution, estimated time and cost (up to 500 words).
  9. References - provide links to any publications or press releases of relevance (up to 500 words).

WIN Scouts proposing potentially suitable partners, will be asked during submission to invite a relevant contact, this being an employee with the relevant authority at the proposed partner. For the partner to be considered as a potential entrant, the same information as detailed above, is required for our evaluation that the proposed partner has future potential relative to the solution requirements.

Wazoku encourages the use by Solvers of AI approaches to help develop their submissions, though any produced solely with generative AI are not of interest.

Find out more about WIN and Nexus Challenges.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on November 7th, 2023.

Late submissions will not be considered.

Your submission will be evaluated by the evaluation team first reviewing the information and content you have submitted at the submission form, with attachments used as additional context to your form submission. Submissions relying solely on attachments will receive less attention from the evaluation team.

After the Challenge submission due date, the Wazoku evaluation team will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to those selected as entrants to Showcase their proposal, according to the timeline in the Challenge header. All Solvers who submit a proposal will be notified about the status of their submissions.

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