Guests: Robert Steegh (LinkedIn) | Daniel Wich 
Company: Enexis (Twitter) | Organization: LF Energy (Twitter)
Show: State of Energy 

Enexis is one of the largest distribution system operators (DSOs) in the Netherlands. It transports electricity and gas. One of its biggest challenges Enexis faces as a DSO is the rapidly changing electricity market. They are now building new automated IT systems to have flexibility in the electricity grid.

In this episode of State of Energy, Robert Steegh, Product Owner of Flexibility at Enexis, and Daniel Wich, Python Developer at Enexis, talk about the status of the Shapeshifter project, the current energy landscape in the Netherlands, and how to create a coherent ecosystem of LF Energy  projects.

Highlights of this video interview:

  • The goal of the Shapeshifter project is to have a standardized communication protocol between a DSO and an aggregator (AGR). It’s built upon an existing protocol, Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF), that is already used within Europe. This framework was used as the invisible, flexible trading protocol to be able to cater to bilateral contracts.
  • Enexis contacted fellow DSOs in the Netherlands and brainstormed on the benefits of creating one protocol for all of the flexibility providers. The protocol was tested in several experiments and in the old forms. The decision to invest together with the other DSOs was easy. It also complies with the new law of congestion management in the country.
  • DSOs in the Netherlands invest heavily in open source. Some of them met up in Paris at the Linux Foundation Energy Summit 2023 and talked about the Shapeshifter. There are internal discussions about investigating if one of the LRV components would be a good fit for the future and how to get there.
  • The Shapeshifter project is considered mature and usable. Coding and testing are done. Initial documentation has been completed. GOPACS and ScottishPower are running full implementations and already in use for their customers.
  • Enexis formerly only put cables in the ground for electricity and pipes for gas, but because of the energy transition, it has transformed into an IT company. For the past four years, Steegh and Wich have been advocating the use of more open source because it’s not easy and it requires an investment.
  • Advantages of open source: 1) Collaboration creates a win-win situation because you can split the development. 2) You have access to people in open-source communities who are motivated to add something to the energy transition and will help you to create a project. Wich adds that there is nothing in the world that you can do alone anymore. There is a need to be open to each other, embrace each other, and then work together because it will get you further.
  • To-do list (pre-GA): 1) Communicate that the library is ready, and that it can be used. 2) Clarify the Shapeshifter documentation using the experiences of the people that are now working on it or implementing it. 3) Add a Python library.
  • Use cases:  1) Communication about flexibility between aggregators (AGRs) and DSOs or between AGRs and transmission system operations (TSOs), and 2) capacity limit contracts, i.e., limiting people that they have contracted to limit the power.
  • Who should get involved in the project: Flexibility providers, aggregators, and service providers that are going to use the protocol on that side. They can also join the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) to make the protocol even better.
  • Vision for the future: An instruction for aggregators or flex providers so they can easily use the different LF Energy projects (such as OpenSTEF, OpenLEADR, and Shapeshifter) as one. They just have to click on one button, and it says “Installed.” It will make it easy for them to join.
  • At the 2023 Paris Summit, the consensus is that there’s a good opportunity to combine multiple LF Energy products because there is a basic necessity. Everybody needs forecasting so they can use OpenSTEF. Everybody needs to communicate with an aggregator, so they can use Shapeshifter. For aggregators, they need to communicate that they can provide a connection, so they can use OpenLEADR.
  • Some of the DSOs in the Netherlands already have a strategic vision on using open source and they are already trying to combine these products.

This summary was written by Camille Gregory.

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