There must always be a balance between the consumption and production of electricity. If the weather gets a little colder than expected, or there is a fault at a power plant or in the power grid, it is Statnett’s job to adjust consumption and production in Norway to keep them in balance. In balancing markets, power producers offer to adjust power production up or down, and large industrial companies offer to reduce their consumption for short periods. Statnett, Entelios and Tibber have tested ways in which even small consumers can participate in such a balancing market.
“To have a secure power supply, we need enough reserves. In Eastern Norway, there are few large power plants and not much in the way of heavy industry, which means we need to test new sources of flexibility,” explains Kari Dalen, Project Manager at Statnett. “Automation facilitates a quick and easy response, though we can still end up with complex value chains when we want to take advantage of reserves from smaller consumers. Aggregators collect flexible consumption from many different consumers, and there can be many different parties tied into the same consumption – especially in larger buildings.”
Tibber and Entelios have developed solutions that automate responses to electronic requests from Statnett in the balancing power market. In the pilot, Tibber offered 1 megawatt (MW) from panel heaters and electric cars, while Entelios provided 4 MW from industrial companies and just over 1 MW from commercial buildings. At the same time, Statnett reduced the minimum requirement for bids from 5 MW to 1 MW during the pilot. The pilot was carried out in Eastern Norway.
“There are extensive technological developments underway, which can increase access to flexible reserves in the power system. Now, it is a matter of putting this into practice,” says Dalen. “We must work together and share knowledge throughout the value chain to understand how we can make use of existing flexibility. For consumers, it is important to be able to react automatically to price signals, and we need standardised and digitally secure smart solutions for both customers and the grid.”
The need for flexibility, i.e. the ability to change power consumption or production, will increase in the years to come. This is linked to both the restructuring of power production and the use of electricity in new areas.
“We see that there is both an increased need and an increased potential for flexibility in the power supply, and we hope to see not only new players but also new technology. Increased flexibility can be lucrative for both society and individual suppliers,” concludes Dalen.