In the future distribution grid, the energy flow is multi-directional. Through increased use of information and communication technology (ICT), intelligent grids with active customers as a resource for the grid,, should be developed.
The active customers will have consumption, generation, energy storage and increased use of control systems, that can be operated by the customer, an aggregator/market actor or the Distribution System Operator. The consumption trend is towards electrical appliances that are energy efficient, but power consuming.
Technology for energy storage is available, and can be used in the distribution grid – for example to smooth the intermittent generation from photovoltaic. Energy storage can be installed at the customer, in tenement houses and/or in substations, and contribute to increased flexibility in the distribution grid. Additionally, increased amount of technology for real time monitoring and control will give new possibilities for flexible operation of the distribution grid.
Flexibility is used to defined a situation dependent and time limited response on an incentive, for example demand response is changing the consumption according to changes in the prices. Research is focusing on increased flexibility on different grid levels and at different stakeholders, related to the interplay between consumption, generation and energy storage. The focus is on both active customers, in the distribution grid and in smarter operation of the distribution grid.