Activating Flexibility

In close cooperation between grid operators and flexibility providers, a market mechanism (flexibility platform) for utilising flexibility to the benefit of the grid was demonstrated within the context of WindNODE. At the same time, the current regulatory framework was analysed with regard to flexibility, and possible improvements were drafted and evaluated with the help of scenarios. Concrete recommendations for action from WindNODE based on practical experience and theoretical considerations point the way to the energy system of the future.

Activating flexibility

Technical flexibility potentials will only then be activated when a market use can be identified and the regulatory requirements become more conducive to flexibility. In general, there are already various applications for flexibility (balancing power, peak shaving, spot market). Smart marketing should consider all application options and as such maximise the value of the flexibility. In addition to the know-how of the operators of flexibility installations and the marketers / aggregators, non-discriminating, competitive and easily accessible markets are needed.

    • Identification of problem areas / obstacles for practical marketing possibilities: such obstacles can consist of difficult market access or a lack of incentive mechanisms for the flexibilisation of power. Given the current framework conditions of the market, the economic value of small to medium flexibility reserves in industry or residential areas can for instance only be increased to a limited extent despite their large potential. The specific legal and regulatory obstacles for the use of flexibility have to be analysed and recommended actions have to be formulated for a further development of the legal and regulatory framework.
    • Studying a specific further development of markets: in collaboration with virtual power plants and aggregators, WindNODE specifically works on the marketing of flexibility units, however small, on the balancing power market. In addition, we study the procurement of flexibility on the market as a grid support service in a large-scale field test with the flexibility platform, invoking the ‘experimentation clause’ (SINTEG-V). By doing so, WindNODE provides a tangible and reliable practical contribution to the current legal and regulatory debate on the usefulness and design of so-called ‘smart markets’.

    Balancing regionalisation and transmission

    Transmission systems create flexibility if the load and generation centres of different regions can be interconnected. With the increasing integration of renewable energy from remote locations, grid capacities are more intensively used. During times of high wind, this leads to transmission bottlenecks within the WindNODE region and export limits at the country borders (interconnections). Regional balancing processes can help avoid grid congestion at all levels. So far, the control processes (incl. market design) are hardly designed to reward system load reducing effects. By combining centralised and decentralised regionalisation and transmission solutions, a secure and both economically and systemically efficient supply can be guaranteed.

    • Regionalisation at the distribution system level: regional power plants assume responsibility for system compatible feed-in at the distribution system level by proactively coordinating the feed-in from various neighbouring production plants (also using storage units and sector coupling) and connection capacities.
    • Regionalisation at the transmission system level: ‘wind in the cities’ means activating load reductions within the control area to avoid congestion (grid surpluses) in the transmission system and at the borders of the control area. In order to organise balancing processes be-tween generation and consumption in a regional context to reduce the load on the system and to use the proven market mechanisms of the energy-only market to this end, the eligible flexibility requires corresponding regional incentives.
    • Allocation processes should be secure, free of technological preferences and non-discriminatory. The subsidiarity principle can be effective where decentralised solutions offer an economic advantage compared to global energy trade and grid transport (e.g. avoiding the use of limited grid capacities through consumption close to production or higher acceptance by means of demand-oriented local or regional electricity products or balance responsible perimeters).

    Establishing rules, market roles and business models

    The profile of the players as well as their roles and tasks will have to be adjusted and refined in the energy market 2.0 or in an increasingly flexible energy system. The new rules for market and regulation have to be specified. The interplay of partially adjusted market roles and responsibilities has to be clarified and the interactions between these roles have to be defined and developed without discrimination. At the same time, the electricity market players that are directly affected by large changes, public utility companies for instance, have to offer starting points and orientation for the development of possible new business models.

    • Large-scale field test to refine roles and tasks on the energy market: the solution approaches for a corresponding sustainable level playing field emerge from the mutual exchange between project partners as well as testing the practical interaction based on the corresponding project experiences. All roles of the new energy market 2.0 are represented by project partners in the WindNODE project. As such, WindNODE represents an almost ideal testing field to specify the interpretation of the roles as well as the bilateral and multilateral interfaces.
    • Field test for new business models: with community meetings (e.g. ‘Hack Days’, the ‘Wind-NODE Challenge’), WindNODE creates testing fields for the research and development of possible new, especially data-driven business models in the energy market 2.0. Additionally, the open exchange within the WindNODE ‘value creation network’ (e.g. in the scope of the economic evaluation of specific application cases for individual technologies) offers support in the development and assessment of business models.
    • Legal and regulatory framework: specific use cases to market flexibility within the current legal and regulatory framework were classified and economically evaluated in a cooperation between the ‘market design and regulation’ workstream and other WindNODE workstreams, e.g. the flexibility platform (‘new market design’ and design of the ‘amber light phase’). On this basis, necessary adjustments to the legal and regulatory framework were identified, the implementation of which will enable a greater economic integration of flexibility options.

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