Increasing flexibility in supply of emergency power

There are more and more opportunities for growers to respond to new markets such as emergency power. What options are there and how does it work exactly? Jeroen van Es, Energy Manager at AgroEnergy and Kees Tetteroo, Energy Specialist, explain.

The market for emergency power offers increasing opportunities for greenhouse horticulture. If growers initially had to make power available for a whole year or a full month, now there is also the option to register for 24 hours.

And with the introduction of a special flex pool for emergency power, AgroEnergy goes one step further: growers can now also offer emergency power for a number of hours. This offers entrepreneurs more and more opportunities to generate extra income with their CHP capacity and / or lighting.

The demand for emergency power stems from grid operator TenneT’s challenge in keeping the electricity grid in constant balance. “Since you cannot store electricity, supply and demand must always be in balance,” says Kees Tetteroo, Energy Specialist at AgroEnergy. “European regulations prescribe that the mains frequency must be kept at 50 Hz. That requires a balance in supply and demand. ”

Kees Tetteroo, Energy Specialist

Last resort
When supply and demand are not in balance, TenneT initially tries to make adjustments via the imbalance market. If this turns out to be insufficient, regulating and reserve power is called up and, as a very last resort, an appeal is made to emergency power. “TenneT only uses this capacity in the event of a major imbalance in the electricity grid, it is the very last resort,” explains Jeroen van Es. He is Energy Manager at AgroEnergy. “Nevertheless, we do see that the need for emergency power is growing. This has everything to do with the advance of sustainable electricity. Because it is difficult to predict exactly how much the sun will shine in a day or how hard the wind will blow exactly, there are more fluctuations in the supply of electricity. The need for flexible power – such as emergency power – to accommodate this is therefore increasing. And this trend will undoubtedly continue in the coming years.”

Introduction day auctions
Growers can play a role in providing emergency power with their CHPs and lighting. When TenneT calls for emergency power, growers are asked to regulate their power up or down and to switch their CHP and / or lighting on or off.

Entrepreneurs receive a fixed fee for making this capital available. At the time of need, there is an added bonus. “Initially, growers could only make their capital available exclusively for TenneT on an annual basis. So entrepreneurs no longer had the opportunity to use this electrical power for other purposes. As a result, offering emergency power was only possible for a small group of growers,” says Tetteroo.

For a few years now, growers have been able to make their assets available on a monthly basis, last year it became possible to operate on a weekly and later on a daily basis. “Day auctions were introduced in September, which means that growers can also make their assets available for a period of 24 hours. And they can indicate that a day in advance. This brought emergency power to a larger group of growers within reach,” says Van Es.

Jeroen van Es, Energy Manager

Emergency power flexpool
AgroEnergy now offers horticulturists even more flexibility when it comes to offering emergency power. In February of this year, a flex pool for emergency power was introduced. Growers can make their assets available at hours that suit them. “So they don’t have to be available 24 hours. As AgroEnergy, we bundle the power available to the growers participating in the pool. We then collectively offer this to the market,” explains Van Es.

There is great interest in the flex pool: sixty growers are now participating in it. This concerns a wide variety of companies: large, small, with or without BiedOptimaal. “Every grower can participate, even entrepreneurs who do not purchase their energy from AgroEnergy. And horticulturists do not have to coordinate their CHP strategy with the other entrepreneurs in the pool. They determine their energy strategy, the use of their CHPs and in which energy markets they want to be active, in consultation with their Energy Specialist. ”

When entrepreneurs want to participate in the emergency power pool, the Tenergy steering box is used. “We then have to make arrangements for TenneT from AgroEnergy. Everything is technically arranged with this. ”

As Energy Manager, Van Es keeps an eye on which hours growers can offer emergency power and how much power is available from the pool in total over a 24-hour period. “I can deduce that a day in advance on the basis of the amount of electricity that is offered on the APX market. Based on the joint emergency power available from the pool, I make a bid to TenneT via Eneco’s Trading department. Afterwards I process the result. “

The sale of emergency power in the Tennet day auctions is handled by Eneco’s Trading department. “This trading department has extensive knowledge of the various electricity markets and has many years of experience in purchasing and selling electricity. As a result, they know how to keep costs low, they can offer a lot of flexibility and – by monitoring well – respond quickly to changes.”

Without charge
The Energy Manager emphasises that growers who participate in the pool are not obliged to offer power; participation is completely without obligation. “That is different for entrepreneurs who have emergency power contracted by TenneT for 24 hours. With the bids from the pool, it is the responsibility of AgroEnergy to ensure we can actually deliver the amount of power that we promise. We invariably work with a safety margin. After all, there is always power that cannot be delivered unexpectedly, for example because CHPs go down. “

Low threshold
With the introduction of the flex pool, AgroEnergy creates extra flexibility in offering emergency power and makes this option interesting for even more growers. Tetteroo: “The barrier to participation is very low, especially because, as mentioned, there are no obligations to participate within the pool. In this way we offer growers maximum opportunities to earn extra money with their available CHP capacity and lighting.”

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