The expansion of wind and solar power causes large fluctuations in the grid – surplus is followed by phases where energy is lacking. This is occurring more and more frequently. In the past year alone, the transmission grid operator APG had to intervene on more than 300 days to stabilise the grid. This means a challenge for the grid operator, but at the same time an opportunity for innovative industrial firms to test new markets and generate additional revenue.
Here’s how it works
"In the Power Pool, we combine companies into a virtual power plant. They make the flexibility of their facilities available – for example gas turbines, battery storage or ventilation systems. When the grid threatens to become unstable, these flexibilities go into action," explains Carina Putz, Product Manager for Demand Response at VERBUND Solutions.
The technical possibilities are changing just as dynamically as the market. Digitisation is the magic word. "When we started Power Pool four years ago, we started with a gas and a steam turbine, and we still had to activate some things manually. By now it all runs fully automatically," Putz says. "Since then we have continuously expanded the pool by integrating new sectors such as the petrochemical industry or incinerating plants, and currently we have more than 300 MW available on the market. Our clients now have even more opportunities to participate in the energy market. By assessing the flexible potential, we are taking a look into the near future and are making it possible for our clients to tap into their full potential."
Interplay of stability and flexibility
The output of all the facilities in the pool is recorded around the clock. This has the advantage that pool participants get a very exact picture of the stability of the pool facilities. Anomalies are detected and measures can be taken promptly. The stability of conventional producers such as gas turbines or hydropower plants makes it possible to also integrate charges such as cement mills or electrolysis in the pool. This makes the Power Pool well positioned in every sense.
Energy market in motion
"The VERBUND Power Pool is developing just as dynamically as the energy market. A development which entails new services for our clients in new markets. We are currently working intensely on developing new markets," Putz says of the dynamic on the energy market.
Currently, preparations for marketing on the intraday market are running as a trial operation. This is of particular interest for those clients who would like to participate with smaller facilities with an output up to 500 kW. The advantage of the intraday market is that clients also have the opportunity to make their flexibility available for a rather short term and to market it successfully.
For bottleneck management, several small facilities are combined to be marketed as an energy package. However, this requires somewhat more lead time than intraday trading does. Relaxing the regulations for compartmentalized assets in bottleneck management is currently under discussion. VERBUND is getting ready with the Power Pool to be able to facilitate market access for its clients.
New technologies as an opportunity
Particularly new technologies which establish themselves on the market serve as catalysts for further exciting possible applications. "Right now we are working on integrating the aspect of storage in the pool. We are testing this with our own project SYNERG-E (local buffer storage at ultra-quick charging stations for e-mobility). The entry level for this application is 100 kW. Another example is the topic of electrolysis. We are analysing this as part of the H2FUTURE project, in which green hydrogen for steel production is being obtained through electrolysis with renewable electricity," as Putz outlines the future scenario.
Efficient portfolio management
"As a service for our clients, it is important to us to ideally use every marketplace for energy and flexible electricity facilities. We make diverse kinds of market access available and find the most profitable marketing strategy for each client," Putz stresses. This is of particular interest for many green electricity plant operators, such as operators of small hydropower and wind farms outside the realm of government support schemes. The VERBUND Power Pool offers especially lucrative revenue models for these. The pool is also of interest for sectors such as the chemical, paper or steel industry. All participants benefit from VERBUND’s know-how as the largest pool aggregator in Austria.
Security & profit at the same time
Innovative demand-response services are a key to the energy future. With the VERBUND Power Pool, companies support Austria’s reliability of supply and profit from additional revenues.
More information: www.verbund.com/powerpool