Building as a Power Plant: The use of buildings to provide demand response

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering

Abstract

The aim of the proposed feasibility study is to evaluate the potential for buildings to provide demand response to electrical networks.

Demand response is a way of managing grid constraints. This work is relevant to the UK's electricity system, since greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are expected to result in greater use of renewables and greater electricity demand (through electrification of heat and transport loads), both of which impact on the way the electricity grid will operate in the future. The UK Government wishes to support flexibility in the electricity system, and recently requested evidence to support the development of greater flexibility.

Demand response programs typically involve very large demand centres, co-ordinated by National Grid. In this instance we are interested in much smaller loads (which could be grouped together), which could offer services to the local Distribution Network Operator. Buildings can provide significant Demand Side Response capabilities given the nature of the thermal and electrical properties of buildings. This may be particularly useful in urban areas, where the electricity grid may be under greater strain in the future.

Buildings could operate individually, or coordinate with other sites and assets in urban areas to form a Virtual Power Plant.

The building we propose to study is the Urban Sciences Building. The Urban Sciences Building is located on Science Central, a 24-acre physical site being developed in partnership between Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council to provide a smart, sustainable, resilient city which links energy, transport and digital infrastructure in an urban context. The building will be a unique environment and a 'living' laboratory. The Urban Sciences Building is equipped with hundreds of sensors that can measure energy supply and demand. The building incorporates photovoltaic generation and large scale grid-connected battery storage. These two technologies can respond to local network needs for services (e.g. peak-shaving), and also act as a power source for the building in case of loss of mains power (i.e. islanded operation). The building is therefore ideal to study, due to the types of load and generation in the building. The site is also ideal to study, since the network is instrumented and other loads are close by.

The academic team has the necessary skills to deliver the proposed programme of work, since the team has research expertise in buildings, electrical networks and storage. The team also benefit from collaboration with a number of industrial partners, who bring commercial expertise in similar fields. This ensures that project team are aware of the needs of a range of parties including:

Building designers (Hawkins Brown, Buro Happold, NG Bailey)
Building constructors (Bower and Kirkjland)
Building operators (Newcastle University Estates department)
Building Energy Management System provider (Siemens)
Distribution Network Operator (Northern Powergrid)
Site owner and developer (Newcastle City Council)
Site energy service provider (Engie)
Domestic property developer (Keepmoat)

These industry and public sector partners provide direction to the project team through an Advisory Board.

The Urban Sciences Building will be studied in detail, in order to analyse the size of load and generation, the speed of response available, and the potential duration of response. Once this analysis has been completed and the nature of Demand Side Response understood, we will then quantify the benefits for the local and wider networks and their operators. Operating the building to offer a Demand Side Response service will require changes to the management of the building. We will define the criteria for a new Building Energy Management System structure. We also plan to investigate the market barriers and enablers which affect the delivery of Demand Side Response by a single building, or groups of assets.

Planned Impact

While modern building designs and energy management systems can support more rational and efficient energy use there is little consideration of how commercial and mixed-usage buildings can provide Demand Side Response and what the benefits from delivering these services can be. One of the main barriers for this is the lack of sufficient evidence, in the form case-studies, to quantify building capabilities and identify technically viable and cost-effective methods to achieve this. By implementing the proposed study on a fully-instrumented building the benefits of performing such operations for both the building owners and networks can be clearly identified. This will contribute significantly to the understanding of the role of such buildings to offer network services individually and in coordinated ways such as in the case of Virtual Power Plants and improve the overall landscape of Demand Side Response.

The potential for buildings to provide demand response to electrical networks is highly relevant to the following groups of industrial sectors:
- Building designers (architects, building mechanical heating and ventilation system designers, building constructors)
- Building operators
- Building management system and data management system designers
- Network operators
- Demand Side Response aggregators

and to the following groups of public sectors:
- Local authorities
- Social landlords

We will achieve this impact from a combination of approaches
- Engagement with a panel of key industrial and public participants supporting the project. This includes data exchange, collaborative working and provision of expertise on all WPs
- Representation of key stakeholders and end-users of the project outcomes in the project Advisory Board. All members are in a unique position to liaise with professional networks and dissemination channels regarding the outcomes of the project. The Advisory Board includes building designers and operators, management system developers, network operators and service aggregators who will be in a position to influence the outcomes based on their particular needs during the course of the project through a series of meetings. Participation of local authorities and social landlords in the Advisory Board also ensures high relevance and direct linking with societal needs.
- Research outputs will be reported in high quality, peer-reviewed journals and at subject-leading conferences including the IEEE PES General Meeting and CIRED. Academic publications are identified as deliverables, amounting to at least two papers. We envisage additional journal publications through collaboration with our international research network, although this is likely to be delivered beyond the end of the 18 month research project period.
- The proposed feasibility study and outcomes are highly complementary and strongly linked with the Centre for Energy Systems Integration led by Newcastle. The Centre comprises a cohort of national and international academic institutions and research centres including UKERC, NREL and EPRI. All of these organisation have a significant interest in Demand Side Response and in the concept of Virtual Power Plants. This network will be used as a means of communicating and disseminating project. The project outcomes will be immediately exploitable by the Centre supported by national and international policy makers including Ofgem and the Energy Systems Catapult outcomes and ideas. This will be achieved mainly via regular teleconferencing, and academic visits.
- The study will enable the implementation and demonstration of Demand Side Response capabilities in Science Central through follow on research/demonstration projects. This is an important potential for additional impact as the study can be followed with experimentation using the building and surrounding site. Stakeholders will therefore be in a position to directly implement and validate results of the work.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The research has identified that, over the course of 24 hours, on average the Urban Sciences Building building can offer between 14% and 46% electrical demand reduction.

One issue for the researchers was missing data. Some sensors are not functioning, or the data streams are not being correctly identified and stored on the server database. As a result, the research team investigated ways in which missing data could be imputed from the available data.
Exploitation Route We are using findings as a foundation for the research in the new grant, the Active Building Centre, with Swansea University.
Sectors Construction,Energy

 
Description The University Estates Department have been in discussion with Flexitricity (introduced through the project) to participate in a Demand Response trial called Quickturn
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Education
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Active Building Centre
Amount £35,947,427 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S016627/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 03/2022
 
Title Data for: Building as a Virtual Power Plant, Magnitude and Persistence of Deferrable Loads and Human Comfort Implications 
Description Data in summary: 1- Building total B side: This is metered data from one of two mains busbars that supplies all none-emergency services and HVAC equipment 2- Building total A side: This is metered data from the second of two mains busbars that supplies all emergency services including fire safety, comm rooms, emergency lighting and public announcement. It also is connected to a PV array with peak electrical supply of around 33kWe. 3- Half hourly building demand and deferrable load breakdowns: This is processed data that includes building total and HH instances of deferrable loads for all sub-categories of loads considered in this work. It also includes HH instances of PV generation, and outside air temperature. 4- Early morning ramp rates following plant start-up: This is a file containing the difference between two instantaneous recordings of total building electricity consumption that shows the continuous fluctuation in total electricity demand in the building. 5- CO2-raw (Typical office): This files contains actual CO2 data in an office that represents typical space occupant density in the case study building. 6- CO2-raw (worst case): This files contains actual CO2 data in a teaching space that represents the highest observed space occupant density in the case study building. 7- Warming and cooling rates in the worst case zones: This file include actual data describing the operational temperature in the worst case zones most prone to overheating in summer and excessive heat loss in winter. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This data supports the journal output "Building as a Virtual Power Plant, Magnitude and Persistence of Deferrable Loads and Human Comfort Implications" 
URL https://data.mendeley.com/datasets/g523kyy4v7/1
 
Description BEIS / Energy Systems Catapult Workshop - 11/6/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact BEIS / ESC Workshop on 2050 calculator - London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BEIS POWERful Women Energy Leaders Reception - 23/5/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact BEIS POWERful Women Energy Leaders Reception, House of Lords
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BaPP Industrial Advisory Committee meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact BaPP Industrial Advisory Committee meeting, Newcastle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BaPP Kick off meeting with Industrial Advisory Committee 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact BaPP Kick off meeting with Industrial Advisory Committee, Newcastle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Building back better: Construction post covid19 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited attendance - Northumbria University: Building back better: Construction post covid19 - MOBIE Applications Launch - with industrial partners IC3, cene, Dynamo North East, One Voice, CIC North East, MOBIE
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description CIBSE Energy Performance Group Power Hour - presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact CIBSE Energy Performance Group Power Hour, London - presentation by Peter Davison
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description CIBSE NE: Demand Response and its comfort implications in a commercial building - October 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact CIBSE NE: Demand Response and its comfort implications in a commercial building - invited speaker
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cibse-north-east-demand-response-and-its-comfort-implications-in-a-co...
 
Description CIBSE Resilient city event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CIBSE Resilient cities webinar: Modelling, master planning and urban design - a holistic and fair response to a climate emergency
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://youtu.be/KZlUZiYDXkM
 
Description CREDS Energy Demand Networking Hub event - May 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact CREDS Energy Demand Networking Hub event, Birmingham - invitation only
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/energy-demand-networking-hub-tickets-57082888456#
 
Description Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A seminar for North East branch of Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineering on Demand Response and its Comfort Implications in a Commercial Building.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description EPSRC EUED Tech Panel 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Member EUED Tech Panel - attended panel meeting to review proposals
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description EPSRC Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund information event - 19/4/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Industrial strategy challenge fund - transforming construction - information event- 19/4/2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Energy Data Taskforce 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Energy data taskforce meeting, London, attended by Mehdi Pazhoohesh
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Energy Futures Lab: Smart & flexible electric heat 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Attended Energy Futures Lab: Smart & flexible electric heat briefing paper launch
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.imperial.ac.uk/events/122281/smart-and-flexible-electric-heat-briefing-paper-launch/
 
Description Energy Institute North East Branch - invited talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Energy Institute North East Branch - invited talk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Energy Systems: Storage 2018 - 5/11/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel member for RenewableUK at Solar Trade Association Report launch, London
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Flexitricity Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting with Flextricity in Newcastle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Speaker - Groningen Unviersity Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited speaker for webinar hosted by Groningen University IREES on Building as a power plant
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.rug.nl/research/irees/calendar/2020/irees-colloquium-building-as-a-power-plant-guest-lec...
 
Description Meeting with Indiana University - 9/11/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Meeting with Indiana University in Newcastle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Networks Award 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Judge of Networks Awards 2021
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description RAEng Event: Data-driven culture change - 27/11/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact RAEng Event: Data-driven culture change - invite only event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Tyndall Centre, Manchester University - guest lecture - June 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Tyndall Centre, Manchester University - guest lecture
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description UK Energy Storage Conference 2018 - 20-22/3/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact UKES Conference at USB, Newcastle. Keynote speaker and session chair on policy & economics of energy storage
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://ukenergystorage.co/
 
Description Visit by Chief Scientific Advisor, BEIS - 16/7/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Visit by Chief Scientific Advisor at BEIS to USB
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit by Nissan to Newcastle University Urban Sciences Building - May 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Visit by Nissan and tour of Newcastle University Urban Sciences Building; chaired session
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Werin networking event - Fuel poverty alleviation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Delivered talk & chaired panel
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Women in Sustainability Professional Network Meeting - 28/6/2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Women in Sustainability Network workshop, Newcastle
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop with Qbots 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Workshop with Qbots, Newcastle, attended by Mohammad Royapoor and Mehdi Pazhoohesh
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018