Untapped Potential

Emergency power generator linked in Next Kraftwerke's Virtual Power Plant “We want to manage our expenses as efficiently as possible, so we always try to find ways to reduce our running costs. That’s why we put our emergency power generator on the balancing energy market. In doing so, we tapped its unused potential, since we can now use the returns from the balancing energy market to maintain the unit,” Bernhard Timmer explains. Timmer is the technical director of a clinical center in the city of Dortmund in North Rhine Westphalia. The Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) operates the clinic and maintains several hospitals, museums, and schools for children with special needs. The LWL clinic is one of 10 that offer balancing energy for the German grid by linking to the Next Kraftwerke Virtual Power Plant.

The 400 kW emergency power generator, located on the clinic’s grounds, is able to keep the most important parts of the clinic running in case of a local power outage. Although the unit is part of the balancing energy market, its principal function as an emergency generator is always guaranteed. “There are safety requirements that apply to emergency power generators in particular. Our technician and Next Kraftwerke’s technical experts ensured the unit remained compliant. The whole procedure was effortless and worked out very smoothly,” Timmer says. Full diesel tanks to power the engines ensure that the clinic is always well prepared. One thousand liters provide enough fuel to maintain the clinic’s power supply for about 35 hours in case of a power outage. Therefore, it is of no consequence if 15 minutes of balancing energy are delivered now and then.

Being part of Next Kraftwerke’s Virtual Power Plant has even more advantages for the clinic. “We can use the requests for balancing energy as a way to test our system,” Timmer says. He adds: “Being part of the Virtual Power Plant provides a source of additional revenue where there are usually only additional costs.”