Households’ contribution to flexibility in the electricity system Challenges and potential support from aggregators
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Quality and operations management (MPQOM), MSc
The journey towards renewable energy sources is accelerating, increasing the number of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar power. In turn, this has resulted in a more fragile electricity network since the intermittent energy sources are dependent on the weather to produce electricity, meaning that power peaks and shortages are more likely to occur. To address this issue, the utilization of flexibility resources in households, including EV chargers, solar PVs, heat pumps, and water heaters, has been identified as a potential solution. However, many challenges can be found in utilizing the flexibility of resources in households, underlining the necessity for an actor to guide and manage these resources. In this study, it has been shown that the aggregator function has the potential in supporting households and their challenges of delivering demand side flexibility (DSF). Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to understand what challenges exist in households delivering flexibility, and what the aggregator function may do to support households in their challenges. This thesis has covered two research questions, which have both been answered. Research question one refers to what challenges that are found in households delivering flexibility. Research question two, has in turn answered the question of how the aggregator function may support households in delivering flexibility. To find the answers to the questions, a literature review, semi-structured interviews with households and aggregators, and exploratory interviews with employees from an established utility, have been performed. The findings of this thesis indicate that households experience challenges in the four systemic areas of market, infrastructure, institution, and economy & finance. The different challenges connect mainly to aspects of awareness, interest, simplicity, understanding, guidance, comfort, adaptability, and economic viability. In turn, aggregators were found to be able to provide support to households in the four systemic areas. Important supportive measures that the aggregator function could perform were related to aspects of information, expertise, collaboration, infrastructure adaptability and simplicity, regulatory responsibility and, reducing costs. In addition, the thesis has also identified gaps between the challenges of households and the supportive ability of the aggregator. These gaps were found in handling households of varying interest levels, limited household markets, low awareness and understanding of DSF, and economic uncertainties.
demand side flexibility , aggregators , households , innovation systems , transitions , intermediary , challenges , support