Turning Point

It is hard to miss the many signs of the local transition to renewable energies upon entering the small town of Scharmede. Countless solar panels on rooftops and a ring of wind turbines around the town show how vigorously the citizens themselves have advanced the set-up and integration of renewable energy plants. One of these citizens is Marius Pötting. He was one of the first to promote the local transition to green energy and is just as strongly convinced of the many advantages of solar and wind power today. “By installing more and more wind turbines and solar panels, citizens become power producers and subsequently assume more and more responsibility for the steady and sustainable supply of energy,” Pötting says. “In doing so, they not only provide a valuable service to energy consumers, but are also able to cash in on the development of new technologies.” Pötting was among those who decided to become a power producer. After having covered the roof of his own farmhouse with solar panels, he took a share in the acquisition and set-up of an 800 kWp Enercon wind turbine. Later, he even covered the roof of his outlying cow shed with solar panels. Over time, however, Pötting wasn’t entirely happy with how things were going. Although the power he produced was fed into the grid and found a buyer, the local grid operator was the one who actually sold it.

At the beginning of 2012, Pötting sought to make a change and become more independent in the marketing of his wind power. He chose Next Kraftwerke to sell his wind power output on the spot market of the energy exchange. Although it may seem that he simply replaced one trading partner with another, his decision had a much deeper impact. With Next Kraftwerke, current market data became constantly available, and Pötting became a market player himself. This marked a turning point for the windmill operator. The quality of weather forecasts increased along with the management of the local balancing group. The latter development led to an improved allocation of transport capacities by the local grid operator and relieved load on the grid – a prime example of how improved market integration of renewable energies can bring about improved system and grid integration. All this was put into practice simply by aggregating and analyzing data – the operation of the windmill itself was never affected.