Frequently Asked Questions

Flexibility means temporarily increasing or reducing electricity consumption or production. This can help the global electricity network toward balancing supply and demand, while also helping the local system which may need to absorb a surplus of photovoltaic generation for example. Flexibility will have different forms within NICE SMART VALLEY demonstration: hot water tanks, electric vehicles, storage systems, synergy between gas and electricity networks, and the control of industrial processes.

INTERFLEX is the contraction of the words “interaction” and “flexibilities.” The interaction of different types of flexibilities within the distribution grid will be assessed through this project.

The technical focuses studied within the framework of the INTERFLEX project are numerous and include:

  • The contribution of flexibility, particularly the demand response toward the electricity grid
  • Tests of new methods for grid automation
  • Technical feasibility and the contribution of islanding
  • The various types of services provided by electricity storage (shared storage for collective self-consumption, flexibility for the resolution of constraints on the distribution grid, and islanding management)
  • The synergies of energy networks (electricity, gas, heat)
  • The potential for electric vehicles as flexibilities

The electricity supply of the Alpes-Maritimes department is special: the department only produces 10% of its consumption. This production consists mostly of hydropower in Nice’s countryside, and the department therefore depends on the grid network for the remaining 90% of its energy needs.

NICE SMART VALLEY is a demonstration of tomorrow’s smart electricity system (Smart Grid). The aim is to make the electricity grid more flexible in a given area by using innovative technologies and through the participation of electricity consumers. Flexibility, storage, islanding and data are at the heart of the project.

Flexgrid is the name of the “smart region” project for the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region. In February 2016, this project was chosen as one of the winners from a call for proposals launched by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, to accelerate the deployment of Smart Grids in certain administrative regions (the projects of SMILE in Brittany and You&Grid in the Lille metropolis were also winners). Flexgrid is supported by the PACA region, with technical assistance from Capénergies, a competitive cluster dedicated to carbon-free energy. The FLEXGRID initiative includes numerous territorial projects focused on local optimization, hybridization of renwamble generation, data management or electric vehicle.

The INTERFLEX project includes six demonstrations: NICE SMART VALLEY (the French demonstration), a German demonstration (in the state of Lower Saxony), two Swedish demonstrations (one in the city of Malmö and the other in a village situated in the southeast of the country), a Dutch demonstration (in the city of Eindhoven) and a Czech demonstration (in a number of municipalities spread throughout the country).

Enedis faces profound changes within the distribution grid, with the fact that 95% of intermittent renewable energy and 100% of the electric vehicles are connected to the distribution grid. These developments towards a system integrating a local vision represent new challenges for the management of the distribution grid which must rely on new flexibilities. The challenge is to tests new schemes for the grid management, to draw feed-back from the field with its operational teams, in order to assess the benefits for the grid from flexibilities, storage and islanding, at practical level (tests on the field) as well as theoretical level (grid simulations)

For partners such as EDF and ENGIE, the goal is to experiment with demand response systems and test the customer response, but also to test new business models for electricity flexibilities and to assess the relevance of new services to the distribution grid.

For industrial partners such as GE and Socomec, the aim is to test their technologies on a real grid and to benefit from the exchange of experiences gained in the field. International export prospects are essential, particularly within the context of the Think Smart Grid association goals to capture 20% of the international Smart Grids market.

NICE SMART VALLEY has a budget of €5 millions. The European Commission contributes to 70%. The remaining sum is provided by the six industrial partners (Enedis, GRDF, EDF, ENGIE, GE and Socomec).

NICE SMART VALLEY covers the municipality of Carros, two western districts of Nice (Lingostière and Saint-Isidore), as well as parts of La Gaude, Saint-Jeannet and Saint-Laurent-du-Var municipalities. It is part of the Plaine du Var’s (Var River Valley) Operation of National Interest (ONI) and covers an economically and socially diverse zone: Industrial areas (Carros, La Gaude, Saint Laurent), commercial zones (Lingostière, Saint Isidore), hydropower production facilities on the Var River, residential areas, as well as the area containing Nice’s international airport. Three zones outside of the Plaine du Var are also part of the geographical perimeter: The Lerins Islands (south of Cannes), the Isola ski resort and the rural territory of Guillaumes village (in the North of the Alpes-Maritimes department.)