To estimate the flexibility of a consumption process, flexible production installation, or energy storage system, one looks at the extent to which the power can be adjusted in relation to normal business operations. Three questions can help here:
- In which direction can the electrical power be controlled? Reducing consumption or increasing production is upward flexibility, increasing consumption or decreasing production is downward flexibility.
- How quickly can the power be adjusted? Can one react within a few seconds or within a few minutes?
- For how long can the power be adjusted? For a few minutes, a few quarters, or for several hours?
The answer to these questions helps to identify in which application the flexibility can best be used. These applications are briefly described in the following section.
Value of Flexibility
Flexibility can be exploited in different applications. Broadly speaking, we can distinguish the following categories:
- Take advantage of price fluctuations on the power exchanges (learn more about power trading here). This allows you to shift your consumption to moments with lower prices, or your production to moments with higher prices.
- Offer flexibility as balancing energy (balancing markets) to the grid operator. The grid operator compensates providers for the provision of these system services.
- Respond on the basis of expected fluctuations in imbalance prices. This is also called reactive balancing.
All these applications contribute to maintaining a stable grid where supply and demand for electricity are equal at all times. Next Kraftwerke will be happy to identify with you where your flexibility is worth the most and make an estimate of your income without obligation. You can contact us through this page.
Long-term views for flexibility
Flexibility through decentralised production and consumption processes is essential in today's energy landscape and will become even more important in the long term:
- There is an increasing electrification of the transport sector, heating of buildings, and in industry. These are driving up total demand for electricity and the volatility of electricity demand.
- Belgian and European power generation is becoming increasingly renewable, with variable production and large 'ramp rates' (speed of increase or decrease of injection into the grid) of solar and wind farms.
- Historically, conventional generation plants (gas-fired, coal-fired, etc.) provided the majority of balancing energy. These power plants are no longer competitive with renewable technologies in several European countries and are gradually disappearing from the production park. Decentralised flexibility can take over their role by being part of a virtual power plant such as Next Kraftwerke's.
There is still a large unused potential for upside and downside flexibility in demand response and in distributed generation. Both consumers and producers are often unaware of the flexibility available to them. Take a look at Next Kraftwerkes Products and services to discover how your processes can be put to work on the energy markets.