Working together in energy transition
German heat pump manufacturer Viessmann is expanding its flexibility project, which aims to intelligently control heat pumps and integrate them into the German electricity grid. The company is testing coordinated load shifting of a large number of heat pumps through a pilot project called “ViFlex.” The project involves Viessmann heat pump owners participating in the initiative along with three German transmission system operators: TenneT, TransnetBW, and 50Hertz.
The increasing electrification of heating and transportation sectors poses technical challenges for transmission system operators. However, intelligent control of heat pumps and electric vehicles can provide solutions. The project aims to increase the stability of operational processes and expand the potential participant base. By coordinating the operation of heat pumps, they can be scheduled to run during hours when there is surplus wind or solar power that would otherwise be curtailed. This approach helps stabilize the power grid, reduce costs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Viessmann customers with internet-connected heat pumps can participate in the project without additional installations by activating the “Flex mode” on the ViShare website. The heat pumps are connected to a virtual heat pump swarm, and Viessmann provides daily predictions of each heat pump’s operation, enabling flexibility in electricity consumption. Participating households receive incentives and can reduce their electricity costs. The aggregated heat pumps act as a “virtual power plant” and contribute to grid stability.
To facilitate the integration of decentralized flexibility sources, such as heat pumps, home battery storage, and electric vehicles, a consortium of six European transmission system operators operates the Equigy Crowd-Balancing platform. This online platform enables automated information exchange between participants, including sending flexibility potentials, measurement data, and adjusting power consumption. Participating households can actively contribute to the energy transition and become part of the crowd-balancing initiative in Germany and Europe.
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