For many observers, sometimes even warned, the electrical aggregator is this new actor, able to shed significant loads on request of a transport system operator (TSO).
This vision describes the visible part of the iceberg that is an aggregator. The reality is far more complex and the aggregator combines actually several activities.
His first activity, we have just mentioned, is to shed loads. For this, it must develop the ability to send load shedding orders manually or automatically processed by its customers. This assumes a control infrastructure that often materializes in the industry by a box: the Bluepod Voltalis box or e-box Entelios (EnerNOC) one. Highlighting this box by giving it a name is to give importance to this first activity and to sustain the importance of the statement I reminded in my introduction. The mode of action in a commercial building is more complex because it must be able to control equipment or applications spread in the building.
Before being able to actually shed loads, an assessment of the load shedding potential of each customer is required; it involves identifying loads that can be shed, defining the load shedding conditions and contractualizing all defined rules. In commercial buildings, the list of sheddable loads can be made by the subscription of said loads to a service: it is still necessary to have a suitable subscription platform.
The second activity is that of an aggregator. Some sheddings correspond to demands of the TSO characterized by power and duration: eg 10 MW for 2 hours. No consumer can alone respond to such a request: the answer is often a combination of several “blocks” of shedding of a shorter duration and a lower power. Answering to the TSO, in a few seconds or minutes, by assembling these smaller blocks while respecting the constraints of the request, on one hand, and of the customers, in the other hand, is the second mentioned activity.
The third activity is akin to trading: it is to value the load shedding blocks in various markets: capacity market, when it exists, balancing market, spot energy market. This activity combines the ability to obtain approvals to participate in these markets, build optimal development strategies and actually get the expected valuations.
None of these three activities is predominant, all must be controlled to deliver a performance worthy of interest. Therefore, it is a bit simplistic to stand as aggregator when you have the only ability to shed a few loads!