Contact FutureLearn for Support
Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 secondsThe energy transition implies the technology, but also a new paradigm that democratizes the entire energy sector. After years in which energy was produced in large power plants, far away from the consumption points and with high up-front financial requirements, now each individual can easily generate his own energy at home. Being a producer, besides a consumer, is changing the way people interact with their energy system. This model makes a new regulation regime necessary in order to develop all of its potential, as well as an economic scheme that does not increase the total cost of the electric system, but distributes it differently instead.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondThrough two similar projects, but in different national contexts, we will try to understand the key aspects of being a prosumer and the barriers Europeans are facing to become an active consumer. Amsterdam V2G has demonstrated the potential of a smart energy management. The combination of a household able to produce and consume its energy, together with the energy storage in an Electric Vehicle, gives way to a large-scale adoption of renewable energies in urban environments. Amsterdam V2G tackles the mismatch between production and consumption of energy. The Electric Vehicle acts as energy storage, so less energy must be purchased when there is no Photovoltaic production. This also prevents energy peaks within the grid, and implies a lesser intensive use of it.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 secondsOverall, Amsterdam V2G does not only allows for clean mobility and more renewables in the energy mix, but also reduces the investment in the current grid’s refurbishment. The household consumes approximately 3350 kWh per year. And the PV installation is 4000 Wp, that produce approximately around 3780 kWh per year. The Electric Vehicle that, in fact, is a boat, has 10 kWh battery capacity. And last but not least, all the project is connected to the Amsterdam’s grid. The key results of this project are the following. First of all, it has increased their energy autonomy, through renewable energies, from 34% to 65%. Besides, the energy exchange with the electricity network has been reduced by 45% compared to the situation without V2G.

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 secondThe 10 kWh batteries yield already most of the potential benefits of vehicle to Grid. And last, battery degradation observed in two years is really limited.

Skip to 3 minutes and 15 secondsThe other example is in Barcelona. With radiation higher by 30% than in The Netherlands. However, Spanish regulation makes self-consumption a path of barriers. This project, called Marlet, shows a zero-emissions house of a typical family of four members, being powered by a solar PV installation for all their electricity and heating requirements over the year.

Skip to 3 minutes and 44 secondsIn this case, the household consumes approximately: 2000 kWh/ year of electricity and 3000kWh of heating. The PV installation is almost 3.000 Wp, and it produces approximately 5.000 kWh per year. The project innovates in the roof integration, because part of the installation is facing south-east and the other south-west. Another feature of this project is the Power to Heat to provide the energy needed for the hot water, heating and cooling. All the system is connected to Barcelona’s grid. There is not any feed-in tariff, not net metering scans. And the process spent almost two years to get all the permits.

Skip to 4 minutes and 37 secondsThe key result in this project is that: The house is totally self-sufficient in a yearly basis. The reduction of energy exchange during the all sunny hours thanks to double orientation and demand side management. 80% reduction of usage time of the gas boiler, thanks to the virtual energy storage that converts overproduction into heat and cooling. Flexibility both on the production and the consumption side provides predictability to the grid, security of supply, high environmental standards and minimum cost. And last but not least, there is a balance of energy imported/exported on a daily basis, but that does not fit any economic scheme to leverage the investment in batteries.

Skip to 5 minutes and 24 secondsProsumers are still pioneers in the majority of the European cities. It is not a problem of sun radiation, as we have seen, since there are some places with large markets, such as Germany. It is rather a legal and regulatory problem. Being a prosumer is a good business for householders and is a game changer of the energy sector. However, scaling-up this solutions across cities requires smart regulations, enabling new business models to share the overproduction and to make buildings a flexible element of the electric grid. The aggregation of different distributed resources in a stable legal framework will dramatically affect the way citizens interact with energy systems.

Skip to 6 minutes and 11 secondsLast, but not least, producing energy at home is a demonstrative and educational resource for the kids that will shape future societies. This is, beyond doubt, the real energy transition from its grassroots.

Prosumer: The new energy production and consumption paradigm

A prosumer is a person who consumes and produces energy for its use and distributes what’s left to the macrogrid. Being a producer, besides a consumer, is changing the way people interact with their energy system. This model makes a new regulation regime necessary, as well as a new economic scheme.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions