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[Interview] Prof. Sanja Vranes – Insights about RESPOND Project

Even if we are all going through difficult times, we are still working hard to achieve our goals and meet the expectations and deadlines for RESPOND Project to be officially launched. Thus, despite the situation and working from home, we had the tremendous honour of interviewing Prof. Sanja Vranes from Pupin Institute.

In this month’s article, she gives us some interesting insights about RESPOND Project and Demand Response.

DEXMA – In your own words, could you describe the main reasons why the RESPOND project is so interesting?

–> Prof. Sanja Vranes – RESPOND project is one of our first projects to deal with innovative demand response concepts, and specifically to interact directly with citizens as end-consumers. RESPOND aims to make our citizens an active part of the energy system, while looking for viable mechanisms to engage them to interact with the energy grid.

RESPOND will allow us to identify new opportunities to achieve grid stability and at the same time cut costs for energy companies as well as consumers.  This is what makes the project so interesting.

DEXMA – What has been the main contribution of Institute “Mihailo Pupin” to the RESPOND project?

–> Prof. Sanja Vranes – Institute “Mihajlo Pupin” is a leading Serbian R&D institution in information and communication technologies, the largest and oldest in whole South-eastern Europe.

At the Institute, the projects of critical national and regional importance have been conducted for a long time, combining systems engineering and information technology to develop innovative solutions in the area of emergency management, water resource management, traffic management, energy efficiency, power systems management, innovation management, policy advisory, etc.

The Institute participates in the project as one of the main leaders of R&D work associated to development of technical services that are making this innovative solution a reality. In this regard, we have contributed to the integration of the overall RESPOND solution, as well as developed a number of leveraging concepts, including cloud platform for data management, a dedicated DR optimisation model, predictive energy data analytics, etc.

DEXMA – How do you foresee the future of demand response for neighbourhoods in Europe

–> Prof. Sanja Vranes – In the future, the demand response for neighbourhoods in Europe might target to bundle different services, while combining energy and non-energy benefits, across e-mobility, assisted living and smart home domains.

On top of this, interaction with the end consumers might play an important role to reach for the portion of energy demand that is not controllable by technology and automation systems.

DEXMA – Which are the sectors that you think that might benefit most from large-scale Demand Side Flexibility programs?

–> Prof. Sanja Vranes – Until today, Demand Side Flexibility programs found their applicability and business opportunities in commercial and industrial sectors, which primarily consisted of large consumption facilities.

However, the residential sector still remains a largely untapped sector, which provides the highest potential benefits, but still requires to overcome technical as well as regulatory barriers, among others. This is something that we see as one of the main challenges, since end-users are usually aware of all the benefits that demand response can bring.

DEXMA – In your opinion, do you think the COVID-19 situation will have an impact on the implementation of cooperative energy demand management in Europe?

If you think there will be a negative impact, what initiatives and solutions would you implement in order to mitigate it?

–> Prof. Sanja Vranes – COVID-19 outbreak will certainly have impacts on the cooperative demand management programs across Europe, but only temporarily in my opinion, while social distancing restrictions are applied.

As soon as we come out from this unfortunate situation, I am certain that the cooperative movement in general will prevail as it builds upon community sentiment which is in a very human nature.


Sanja Vranes
Prof. Sanja Vranes, PhD EE&CS
Director General
The Mihailo Pupin Institute
Volgina 15, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia