FIWARE for Smart Energy Platform
At the E.ON Energy Research Center in the RWTH Aachen University, we are taking some first steps towards a cloud-based, service-oriented, open-source middleware platform, the Smart Energy Platform (SEP), that is capable of supporting the business models of the different Smart Energy actors. The term “Smart Energy” means making electricity grids, buildings and cities “smart” through the introduction of ICT and automated control, i.e. it covers Smart Grids, Smart Cities and Smart Buildings.
The actors who will be able to carry out their business by means of offering services through the SEP and using the services offered by other actors include, for example, Utilities, TSOs, DSOs, equipment providers, electricity retailers, electricity aggregators, energy service providers, electricity market regulators, electricity prosumers, electricity end-customers, building management firms and ICT companies. Hence, the SEP is envisaged as a hub for Smart Energy business, and must be built to be powerful, robust and secure enough to support real business use cases.
There are several technical pillars upon which SEP is based:
- use of open source software, to create a dynamic development community;
- development as a cloud-based platform, to achieve scalability (in terms of geography and size) at reasonable cost;
- use of a service-oriented architecture, allows simple, extensible APIs between the various actors, which hide underlying complexity;
- use of a 3-layer platform model (integration of various data sources, middleware and API layer) to allow SEP’s services to address multiple miscellaneous data sources.
In order to support the open source approach, FIWARE open source Generic Enablers will be used as building blocks for the SEP and it will be hosted in the FIWARE cloud.
A first step towards the SEP is already underway at E.ON Energy Research Center where laboratory equipment is being connected to a FIWARE cloud platform to make a cloud-based Smart Energy testbed. This will provide the opportunity to test new services and components at different levels, ranging from pure software testing to hardware and Power-Hardware-in the-Loop testing. The pure software testing is suitable for testing cloud-based algorithms, services and the interfaces between them. Involving real Smart Home Gateways and Control Units in the tests, known as Hardware-in-the-Loop, enables the user to analyse the integration and interaction of real hardware with the cloud. A further step, the incorporation of the Smart Home test bed, developed at the E.ON Energy Research Center, allows for testing entire Smart Home systems, reaching from heat pumps to controllers and cloud-based services.
In order to establish the described test bed and facilitate the development of new services with the platform, a whole new lab infrastructure will be created and is already under development. The lab infrastructure will host computing infrastructure, workplaces to develop hardware components as well as novel visualization and demonstration capabilities.
Another first step towards SEP is being taken in the FINESCE project. The FINESCE trial sites produce live data which can be accessed via the FINESCE API. However, the data will not be available indefinitely as live data after FINESCE ends. A FIWARE-based FINESCE Data Platform, however, continue to offer these datasets as historical data. The data will be published as open data.