TransnetBW and TenneT establish ‘Flexcess GmbH’ to participate in European crowd-balancing platform EQUIGY
- TransnetBW is sixth European electricity transmission system operator to join EQUIGY B. V.
- The EQUIGY crowd-balancing platform will enable the use of decentralised small-scale storage systems of millions of households and other sources to stabilise the electricity grid in the future.
- TenneT TSO GmbH integrates the shares currently held in EQUIGY B.V. into a joint venture with TransnetBW.
16 December 2021 – Bayreuth/Stuttgart. Since April 2020, electricity transmission system operators TenneT (Germany and the Netherlands), Swissgrid (Switzerland) and Terna (Italy) have been developing the transnational crowd balancing platform EQUIGY. This blockchain-based flexibility platform should in future integrate millions of individual electric vehicles, heat pumps and battery storage units in Germany and Europe through aggregation: In this way, these flexible capacities can be used as system services for the stabilisation of the electricity grid. The Austrian transmission system operator Austrian Power Grid joined the consortium in February 2021, and now TransnetBW will participate in EQUIGY as the second German electricity TSO.
“The more electricity transmission system operators in Germany and Europe participate in the crowd balancing platform, the more flexible and secure our electricity grid will become. In this respect, we welcome the participation of every other electricity transmission system operator,” emphasised Tim Meyerjürgens, COO of TenneT.
With regard to the climate policy goals of the new German government, he adds: “EQUIGY unlocks the flexibility of millions of decentralised small storage units and so makes an important contribution to sector coupling and the secure transformation of the energy supply system.” As renewable energy expands, the new federal government wants to explore competitive, open-technology capacity and flexibility mechanisms, as well as strengthen further integration of the European internal energy market.
Dr Rainer Pflaum, Managing Director of TransnetBW, adds: “The name Flexcess shows what we are aiming at with our participation: It is about access to flexibility. We see the platform as a scalable and, above all, future-proof instrument for developing these new types of system services. The demand for such services, which stabilise the grid, is growing strongly.” In Pflaum’s view, the participation in EQUIGY also raises the question of appropriate regulatory recognition of digitisation initiatives: “The energy transition needs not only copper and steel, but also bits and bytes. We therefore plead for an adjustment of the regulatory framework that properly takes into account such innovative measures that have a significant economic benefit.”
Establishing the Flexcess GmbH joint venture
The articles of association of EQUIGY B. V. stipulate that only European electricity transmission system operators or joint ventures of national electricity transmission system operators can hold shares. Until now, TenneT TSO GmbH had been the only German electricity transmission system operator to hold shares. In order to now enable the participation of both German grid operators, TenneT and TransnetBW are founding the Flexcess GmbH joint venture. Subject to a decision by the Federal Cartel Office, the shares in EQUIGY B.V. currently held by TenneT will be transferred to the joint venture. TransnetBW and TenneT will each hold a 50 percent stake in Flexcess GmbH. Like EQUIGY B. V., the German joint venture will be a not-for-profit entity. Partners and market participants can use the functions of the EQUIGY crowd balancing platform for the efficient integration of aggregated flexibilities into the system service markets free of charge.
The energy transition is leading to an increasing share of fluctuating electricity generation from wind power and solar panel plants, which can only be forecast to a limited extent. At the same time, coal and gas-fired power plants will be less and less available on the grid and thus no longer available for stabilising the electricity grid as before. In order to still stabilise the grid reliably, sustainably and cost-effectively, the flexible capacities of small, decentralised generators, storage units and electricity-using devices – such as electric vehicles, heat pumps and home storage units – will also be used in the future. The European blockchain-based EQUIGY crowd balancing platform supports market participants in efficiently tapping decentralised flexibility potential. It provides an essential IT prerequisite for end customers to become an active part of the energy transition in the future. The flexible capacities of these plants can be used unbureaucratically, simply and securely for the purpose of grid stabilisation. A large part of the existing processes and IT systems with which flexible capacities are used for grid stabilisation today are designed to control a few hundred power plants in the multi-digit megawatt range and not millions of individual small plants in the mostly single-digit kilowatt range. With EQUIGY, electricity transmission system operators enable the automated integration and control of these plants in the processes of the grid operators and market participants.
With the help of the platform, electricity suppliers (aggregators) can market the small-scale decentralised flexibilities easily, and independently of the geographical location in all participating countries via the same interfaces. This significantly lowers the barriers to market entry, especially for small suppliers. At the same time, all local and regional flexibility platforms can also be connected to the EQUIGY platform, so that the flexibilities bundled there have an additional opportunity to be marketed.
The platform offers a common, non-discriminatory accessible infrastructure for the provision of data. The marketing of the flexible capacities takes place on the national system service markets. The small-scale flexibility providers can provide the data for their flexibility offer (i.e. when they can provide how much flexible capacity where) to the national system service markets via the EQUIGY platform. This increases the liquidity of the markets and thus paves the way for a secure electricity supply.
The platform will use blockchain technology, which enables the creation of a secure environment in which transactions of millions of individual plants are automated and carried out with low transaction costs. In doing so, the blockchain solution guarantees a high level of transparency and thus ensures the necessary exchange of data between market players. At the same time, consumers‘ personal data remains fully protected.
TenneT TSO GmbH
T +49 921 50740-4070
M +49 (0)151 42246910
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TenneT is a leading European grid operator. We are committed to providing a secure and reliable supply of electricity 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, while helping to drive the energy transition in our pursuit of a brighter energy future – more sustainable, reliable and affordable than ever before. In our role as the first cross-border Transmission System Operator (TSO) we design, build, maintain and operate 24,000 km of high-voltage electricity grid in the Netherlands and large parts of Germany, and facilitate the European energy market through our 16 interconnectors to neighbouring countries. We are one of the largest investors in national and international onshore and offshore electricity grids, with a turnover of EUR 4.5 billion and a total asset value of EUR 27 billion. Every day our 5,700 employees take ownership, show courage and make and maintain connections to ensure that the supply and demand of electricity is balanced for over 42 million people. Lighting the way ahead together.
TransnetBW GmbH operates the transmission network in Baden-Württemberg. Its legal task is to guarantee system security at all times. TransnetBW monitors and continually operates the electricity flows within Baden-Württemberg as well as the electricity exchange with neighbouring distribution and transmission network operators. The company is the owner of the transmission network infrastructure and is responsible for maintenance and the development of the network in line with requirements. The 380/220-kV power circuit owned by TransnetBW is about 3,200 kilometres long and provides an area of 34,600 km². The transmission network is available to all players in the electricity market without discrimination and at fair and transparent conditions. With around 900 employees in the future, TransnetBW will achieve an annual turnover in excess of six billion Euros.
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