VIRTUAL POWER PLANT
One of the central challenges of the energy transition is to maintain the permanent balance between electricity generation and consumption. Only as long as this is ensured is network operation possible. Because of the fluctuating electricity production in photovoltaic and wind power plants, there is a high demand for flexible producers and consumers who can adjust their electricity generation and power consumption at any time.
So-called Virtual Power Plants are increasingly established to control flexible producers and consumers. Many small power plants are bundled via a central control system with the result, that small units are combined into their own (virtual) power plant, which is then controlled via a joint IT connection.
Not only classic producers, such as cogeneration plants and natural gas CHPs, but also new types of power plants, such as emergency power generators and biogas-CHP, can participate in the Virtual Power Plant. Increasingly, Virtual Power Plants will also be able to integrate photovoltaic and wind power plants. In addition to producers, flexible consumers, such as Power-to-Heat and Power-to-Gas systems may also be virtually interconnected. Numerous contracts with all participants on both the producer and consumer side are the legal basis for the formation of a Virtual Power Plant. These contracts have to determine the conditions for the control and marketing of each system.
An important source of income for virtual power plants is the control energy market where flexible power is marketed. Via the internet platform www.regelleistung.net, the German TSOs invite tenders for the required energy balancing (i.e. flexible power available at any time for the compensation of unforeseen deviations of the commercial schedule). A distinction is made between positive and negative primary control power, secondary control power and minutes reserve.
Virtual Power Plants benefit from the control energy market.
In order to participate in the control energy market, an extensive pre-qualification process must be successfully completed. This particularly requires an IT security concept and a coherent security scheme for unforeseen failures of production facilities, especially those based on renewable energy. In addition, adherence to the legal and regulatory requirements of the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) must be ensured.
Apart from capacities at the control energy market, Virtual Power Plants also take over the direct marketing of the electricity generated by the individual power plants. Therefore, the requirements of Sections 20 ff. Renewable Energies Act (EEG 2017) need to be fulfilled. Biogas-CHPs integrated in Virtual Power Plants are additionally entitled to the flexibility surcharge and the flexibility premium according to Section 50a and Section 50b EEG 2017.
The future development of Virtual Power Plants strongly depends on the legal framework - which is continuously evolving. In particular, the electricity market design 2.0 and the Combined Heat and Power Act (KWKG 2017) have a critical impact on the business model.
Your contact person:
Dr. Max Peiffer