How has COVID-19 affected CROSSBOW?
COVID-19 crisis arrived just at the beginning of the first round of trials. When the project was concluding the first deployments and after the execution of the first experiments, we were forced to handle the unforeseen situation that has blocked activities across the world. In the case of CROSSBOW, the project was forced to reassess its strategy for the last phase of demonstrations. Whilst it was planned that trials would be running until June 2020; it was necessary to extend the activities until the end of October 2020.ç
The main challenge posed by the crisis was the unavailability of critical personnel to participate in the validation of the project results. Not only it has been impossible to deploy some of the solutions in the field, but most importantly, some of the end-users – mainly system operators – were forced to follow a strict emergency plan not to jeopardise the supply of energy in the countries participating in CROSSBOW. This led to severe difficulties to interact with some of the most valuable participants of the project, dedicated during the crisis to other urgent and critical tasks to guarantee the seamless operation of the grid.
With the end of the first COVID-19 wave, the project is advancing as much as possible the planned experiments in order to avoid potential issues in the future in case of a second wave leading to a new lockdown.
Moreover, the already established infrastructure for coordination with virtual meetings will still be used until 2021, trying to reduce as much as possible the physical meetings.