Power to Gas
New market potential for PtG plants
Power to Gas (PtG) is a key technology in the sector coupling and realizes several goals of the energy transition: Thanks to their flexibility, PtG systems can react to price fluctuations on the stock exchange and thus contribute to grid stability. In addition, the technology enables the conversion of excess electricity into storable gas or methane, which is then available for various applications.
Inexpensive electricity for your electrolyser
To operate your electrolyser, you need an electricity supply contract. Our experienced trading department enables us to supply you with electricity at favourable conditions. In addition, we offer you the opportunity to profit from price fluctuations on the electricity exchange. This is because the variable feed-in of the renewable energy sources wind and sun causes fluctuations in the intraday market in the double-digit euro range. You can use these price differences for your power-to-gas plant via our virtual power plant. If you are interested in this flexible form of electricity supply, you have two options.
- Automated control via the Next Box: With automatic control, the PtG system is networked with our Virtual Power Plant via the Next Box and controlled fully automatically via our control system. The control system combines information from the electricity markets, weather forecasts and live data from all networked plants. The flow rate of the local natural gas network can also be taken into account in resource planning. The control system uses this data to calculate the time at which the electrolyser is used and then switches it fully automatically via the Next Box. In simple terms, if electricity prices are particularly low, the electrolyser is started via the control system. If prices rise again, electrolysis is stopped automatically. In this way, you get the most out of the price differences on the stock exchange. Of course, you can also intervene in the system control at any time during fully automatic operation.
- Manual control on the basis of timetables: As an alternative to fully automatic control, you can also optimize the electrolyser's operation manually. For this purpose, we provide you with timetables that show you when the stock exchange prices are favourable and gas production is worthwhile for you. On this basis you switch your power-to-gas plant and shift your production into the advantageous time windows with low prices. By the way: You do not need any additional infrastructure for this form of electricity supply - you just need to adjust your operating mode.
Using excess electricity and stabilising the grid
The fluctuating feed-in of renewable energies not only creates situations in which there is too little electricity in the grid. If the sun and wind supply more than expected, there may also be an excess of electricity in the grid. In this case, negative control energy needs to be activated: The transmission system operators reduce the feed-in or increase the demand and thus ensure that the grid frequency drops back to the required 50 Hertz. Thanks to the enormous reaction speed of the power-to-gas technology, the electrolyser is ideally suited for providing control energy. The advantage: Instead of shutting down systems, the excess electricity is used and converted into storable gas. If necessary, this can be converted back into electricity.
- Attractive revenues: For the provision of your PtG system alone, you receive a standby remuneration, the so-called demand price. In the event of a call-off, you will also receive the energy price.
- No financial risks: We do not charge any fees for our marketing services, but only receive a share of your revenues (profit sharing). So there is no financial risk, you can only win.
- Umfassender Service: Via the Next Box we connect your PtG plant to our virtual power plant and e carry out the necessary test procedure, the prequalification.
- Resource-saving: Instead of turning down plants, the surplus electricity is used and converted into storable gas. This can be converted back into electricity when needed.
A practical experience
Networking of the power-to-gas plant of Windgas Haßfurt (Germany)
Since 2016, the P2G plant of the city of Haßfurt, which is operated jointly with the Hamburg-based green energy provider Greenpeace Energy, has been networked in our virtual power plant. In the event of high wind volumes, which cannot be fully utilised on site in the Haßfurt distribution network, the system starts up and stores excess energy as wind gas in the form of hydrogen within seconds. The operation of the system is optimized on the basis of various data sources: On the one hand, we forecast the feed-in of renewables and the total electricity consumption in the distribution grid. The flow rate of the local natural gas network, which absorbs the hydrogen produced in the electrolyser, is also taken into account.
My Power Plant
Always up to date via app and PC
- Notification function: You can also be notified about control energy calls.
- Notice disruptions early: Via the customer portal, we can inform you directly in the event of disruptions. This enables you to react as quickly as possible.
- Maintenance times: You can simply register maintenance and repair times for your PtG plant with us via the customer portal so that we take the downtimes into account in electricity trading.
Frequently asked questions
We clarify the most common questions about Power to Gas plants in the Virtual Power Plant in these FAQs. Learn all about how your electrolyser can benefit from the fluctuating prices on the power exchanges and make additional profits by providing balancing power.
What capacity must my PtG plant have in order to participate in the virtual power plant?
Your Power to Gas system should have an output of at least 100 kW. With a lower output, marketing is usually not profitable for you and us.
How does electricity supply via Next Kraftwerke work?
Next Kraftwerke supplies you with electricity. You can easily obtain the electricity you need for your electrolyser via our electricity supply contracts. If you want, we can also supply the corresponding guarantees of origin.
How does flexible electricity supply work and how can I save costs as a result?
Prices on the electricity exchange are subject to constant fluctuations. Benefit from this by purchasing electricity when it is particularly cheap. With the flexible electricity tariffs from Next Kraftwerke, you receive optimised schedules that take into account the optimal operation of your system. You can decide whether you prefer fully automatic control with our Next Box or whether you want to control your power-to-gas plant yourself on the basis of the optimised schedules. The flexible tariff does not result in additional costs, but only in opportunities to save costs.
What data is evaluated for flexible electricity supply?
Next Kraftwerke's control system evaluates data from the electricity markets, weather forecasts and live data from all plants networked in the pool. In addition, the flow of the local natural gas grid can also be taken into account when creating schedules.
Is a Next Box required and how does the control of my PtG system work?
You do not necessarily need a Next Box to benefit from a flexible electricity supply. You can also optimise the mode of operation independently, without additional infrastructure. Next Kraftwerke will provide you with schedules or exchange electricity prices, which you can use as a basis for optimising the production of your PtG plant. If, on the other hand, you want fully automatic control, you need to install our remote control unit Next Box. The Next Box is connected to your plant and organises the data exchange between your plant and our control system. The control system calculates an optimal schedule for your electrolyser from the various relevant data and controls it. In other words: if the prices on the electricity exchange are low, your PtG plant is started; if the prices rise, the electrolysis is stopped again.
How can power-to-gas plants provide balancing energy?
Power-to-gas plants are flexible and responsive. This makes them perfect for providing balancing energy. PtG can provide negative balancing power. This takes effect when there is too much electricity in the grid. Then the feed-in must be reduced or the demand increased in order to stabilise the grid frequency within the limits. An additional benefit is that the gas generated in this way can also be kept. Furthermore, power-to-gas plants can additionally provide positive balancing energy during continuous operation by shedding load, i.e. reducing their electricity demand.
What requirements does my PtG plant need to provide balancing energy?
For the provision of balancing energy, your plant must prequalify, just like any other type of plant. We will be happy to support you in this process. In addition, at Next Kraftwerke we can include plants with an output of 100 kW or more in our pool. Are you unsure whether you meet all the technical requirements? Then contact us and our internal technical service will provide you with competent advice.
What types of balancing energy can be provided?
PtG plants are ideally suited for providing negative balancing power. In practical terms, this means reducing the amount of electricity in the grid by absorbing the surplus electricity. Another factor is how quickly your plant can provide control energy. A distinction is made between minute reserve (provision after 5 min), secondary reserve (provision within 5 min) and primary balancing power (provision within 30 seconds). Many PtG plants can provide all three types of balancing power. Even the lucrative primary control reserve. We will be happy to clarify whether your plant can also do this in a non-binding individual consultation. If you operate your system continuously, you can also provide positive balancing power. With positive control energy, consumption is reduced flexibly and at short notice.
My plant is not available for a while. What do I have to do?
If your plant is not available, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can take the new restrictions into account when controlling your plant. You can easily and simply use our customer portal "My Power Plant" for this purpose.
Can my PtG plant provide balancing energy and benefit from flexible electricity supply tariffs at the same time?
Your plant can provide control energy and benefit from flexible electricity tariffs at the same time. However, if you do not use the Next Box for the flexible electricity tariffs, you must ensure that sufficient storage capacity is available for a balancing energy call. If we control the system via the Next Box, we already take this into account in our schedules.
Facts and figures
We implement your requirements
As one of Europe's largest Virtual Power Plants, we already connect more than 5000 decentralized power generators and consumers. This network enables us to benefit from market opportunities for decentralised units such as wind, solar and biogas plants as well as PtG systems. Our own trading floor enables us to react quickly to price fluctuations on the electricity markets and provide reserve capacities to stabilize the grid. In addition, we are involved in numerous research projects relating to the successful market integration of renewable energies.
Non-binding inquiry for your PtG plant
We advise you individually on the market opportunities you can exploit with Power to Gas: Simply fill out the following contact form or call us a +32 (0) 2 342 02 68