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Balance maintenance with solar and wind energy, electric boilers and district heating

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TenneT will start investigating the options for offering local (sustainable) electricity generation capacity on the market for balance maintenance in the Dutch high-voltage grid (‘balance maintenance’ refers to achieving a balance between the supply of and the demand for electricity). This concerns the so-called automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve (aFRR), also referred to as ‘regulating capacity’. TenneT is undertaking this pilot project in collaboration with seven market parties: Engie, Enova, Escozon & Energie Samen, Next Kraftwerke & Jedlix, Scholt Energy & Enervalis, Sympower and Vandebron.

The pilot project is a follow-up to a previous collaboration with energy supplier Vandebron. The scope of the study has now been extended and six new partners have joined the project. The sources that the project partners are planning to use include wind energy, solar energy, combined heat and power generation (CHP), heating grids, electric cars, electric boilers and electric pumps.

In the past, the balance on the high-voltage grid was maintained largely by deploying the capacity of conventional power plants. In the future, support from decentralized sources will become increasingly important. TenneT has set up this aFRR pilot project to prepare for such a future.

During the pilot project, new data communication technologies will be tested to enable TenneT and suppliers of flexible generating capacity to exchange the required information for balance maintenance purposes. TenneT and its partners will also investigate suitable methods for the verification of actual aFRR supplies from a pool of decentralized sources.

In selecting suitable partners for this project, TenneT paid particular attention to ensuring the widest possible range of technologies and assets.

The role of regulating capacity in balance maintenance

TenneT’s statutory tasks include maintaining the balance on the entire Dutch electricity grid, i.e. ensuring a balance between the supply of and demand for electricity at all times. TenneT does this by ‘dispatching’ (i.e. deploying as needed) various balance maintenance products, such as the Frequency Containment Reserve (FCR), the aforementioned automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve (aFRR), and the manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR).

The FCR reserve is used to support (‘contain’) the frequency in the synchronously interconnected European high-voltage grid, while the aFRR and mFRR reserves are used to balance supply and demand within the Netherlands (the so-called ‘power balance’).

FCR is used to support ('contain') balance disturbances within a few seconds to 15 minutes. aFRR and mFRR are used to support supply and demand in a time frame of fifteen minutes to hours. This is to accommodate, for example, failure of a power plant or an incorrect prediction of the amount of wind or solar energy being generated.

At present, using alternative energy sources in the aFRR market is not always possible based on current specifications and communication technologies. TenneT is therefore undertaking this pilot project to investigate, and where possible eliminate, the obstacles that make it difficult to supply regulating capacity obtained from decentralized (renewable) electricity sources. In this way, TenneT aims to ensure a sufficient number of suppliers and sufficient flexible capacity for balancing supply and demand in the Dutch high-voltage grid in the future.

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Jeroen Brouwers

Media Relations

+31 (0)26 373 26 00


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