First citizens’ initiative using crowd balancing platform Equigy will help grid operator TenneT meet challenges of energy transition
Arnhem, 31 March, 2021 – The citizens’ energy cooperative project centres around a large 1 MW battery located near a solar park at the edge of Heeten, a village in the province of Overijssel in the Netherlands. With this battery, the 3.5-hectare solar park with 7,752 panels connects to the energy market facilitated by TenneT. Advisory agency Escozon, and Energie Samen, the national umbrella organisation of energy cooperatives, have collaborated on this project with TenneT, with energy corporation Endona providing the solar park.
The energy world is changing fast, both on the supply side – through, for example, solar parks and wind farms – and on the demand side, though, for example, electric cars and heat pumps. TenneT has traditionally relied on thermal power plants based on fossil fuels to balance the grid. But as the electricity system becomes increasingly dependent on the sustainable yet fluctuating generation of electricity, there’s a need for new sources of flexibility to keep the grid balanced.
TenneT CEO Manon van Beek says: “With conventional power plants closing down, we are preparing for a future where we are largely dependent on decentralised electricity products, and consumers with electric cars, home batteries and heat pumps, to stabilize the grid in a reliable, sustainable and cost-effective way.
“The Equigy platform plays an important technical role in making sure all these elements work together to balance the grid, enabling the sharing of data between market parties, grid operators and aggregators. This means private consumers can make a profit from selling their energy, as well as play a part in bringing about the energy transition.”
Small sustainable market parties
TenneT is currently investigating how smaller sustainable market parties can play a role in balancing the grid. This includes initiatives like the citizens’ cooperative in Heeten. Dominique Doedens, from consultancy Escozon, which among other things, focuses on boosting the role of cooperatives in creating flexibility, says: “Endona’s goal is to contribute to a fully sustainable local energy market, which locals can profit from. That’s why the solar park is such a wonderful project.”
How does it work?
Solar energy from the solar park is stored in the battery when more energy is generated than can be consumed. This energy does not then enter the grid, and grid operator TenneT pays a fee for this.
“The fee for not supplying electricity to the grid can sometimes be higher than supplying it,” Doedens explains. For a fee, the solar plant can also supply extra power via the stored power in the battery if the grid operator needs more. This can contribute to a healthy business case for citizens’ initiatives, and their role in a fully renewable energy system.”
As an aggregator, Energie Samen sold the flexibility from the solar park and the battery on behalf of Endona at the end of last year.
”René van Vliet, project manager for flexibility at Energie Samen, says: “Energy cooperatives want to capitalise on the flexibility of their cooperative solar and wind farms. We are investigating whether an aggregator controlled by the energy cooperatives can operate as a partner in the various markets for flexibility.
“Flexibility is an important factor in achieving sustainability goals. You can prevent part of the necessary but expensive grid expansions by aiming for flexibility, and when you use locally what you produce locally, you also need fewer grid expansions. Also, if as an energy corporation you can supply the energy you generate straight to your customers, you keep the profits within the community.”
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Equigy plays a key role in the acceleration of the energy transition and the integration of the energy system. With the European crowd balancing platform, Equigy creates a trusted data exchange to enable aggregators to participate with smaller flexibility devices, such as home batteries and electric vehicles, in electricity balancing markets, turning consumers into prosumers. Owned by leading European transmission system operators, Equigy aims to set cross-industry standards throughout Europe, to support a future-proof, reliable and cost-effective power system that is independent of fossil fuel-based flexibility sources.
TenneT is a leading European grid operator (Transmission System Operator, TSO). We focus on providing a safe and reliable electricity supply, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Meanwhile, we stimulate the energy transition with a sustainable, reliable and affordable future for energy as our objective. As the first cross-border TSO, we design, build, maintain and exploit 23,900 kilometres of high-voltage connections in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, and we facilitate the European energy market via the 16 interconnectors without neighbouring countries. With a revenue of 4.5 billion euros and a total asset value of 27 billion euros, we are one of the largest investors in national and international electricity grids, both onshore and offshore. Every day, our 5,700 employees do everything they can to meet the needs of society by showing ownership, courage and connection. Together, we make sure more than 42 million end users can count on a stable electricity supply. Lighting the way ahead together.