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Exploring the Effects of Local Energy Markets on Electricity Retailers and Customers

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Local energy markets (LEM) have recently attracted great interest as they enable effective coordination of small-scale distributed energy resources (DER) at the customer side, and avoidance of distribution network reinforcements. However, the introduction of LEM has also significant implications on the strategic interactions between the customers and incumbent electricity retailers. This paper explores for the first time these interactions by proposing a novel multi-period bi-level optimization model, which captures the pricing decisions of a strategic retailer in the upper level (UL) and the response of both independent customers and the LEM (both including flexible consumers, micro-generators and energy storages) in the lower level (LL). Since the LL problem representing the LEM is non-convex, a new analytical approach is employed for solving the developed bi-level problem. The examined case studies demonstrate that the introduction of an LEM reduces the customers’ energy dependency on the retailer and limits the retailer’s strategic potential of exploiting the customers through large differentials between buy and sell prices. As a result, the profit of the retailer is significantly reduced while the customers, primarily the LEM participants and to a lower extent non-participating customers, achieve significant economic benefits.

Author(s):

Dawei Qiu    
Imperial College London
United Kingdom

Yujian Ye    
Imperial College London
United Kingdom

Dimitrios Papadaskalopoulos    
Imperial College London
United Kingdom

 

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