Venturing into a green energy landscape – especially in countries with no established subsidy schemes for renewables – is a huge undertaking, but also leaves a lot of room for establishing new approaches. South Korea is a country that is still in its first steps of establishing a decentralized green energy industry. Haezoom is a start-up from South Korea that specializes in solar power production. Together with Next Kraftwerke, the Seoul-based company sets out to explore the possibilities of utilizing a VPP. We talked with J-Ho Lee, Product Owner (PO) from Haezoom, and Felix Jedamzik, Key Account Manager NEMOCS at Next Kraftwerke.
Nils Quak: Why does Haezoom want to enter the VPP business?
J-Ho LEE: Haezoom concentrated on identifying and resolving the issues encountered by our customers. One of these issues had to do with the inadequacy of accessible information within the solar industry. To resolve this, we developed and introduced the Haezoom SolarMap, a solar forecasting map. To preserve the trust and confidence of our customers, Haezoom continues to introduce solutions addressing nationwide environmental issues. Haezoom believes that the VPP business is one of these solutions.
In 2016, Haezoom was the only start-up designated as an aggregator for the pilot Electricity Aggregator Programme, and in 2019 commenced operations as the first registered aggregator. As of May 2019, Haezoom manages over 2,800 PV power plants around Korea through its PV leasing and renewable portfolio standard (RPS) businesses. We anticipate that our knowledge and experience gained from managing decentralized PV power plants will have a positive impact on our VPP business.
Nils Quak: What were the reasons for choosing Next Kraftwerke?
J-Ho LEE: Haezoom came across Next Kraftwerke whilst undertaking case studies. Upon further assessment, we came to the conclusion that Next Kraftwerke was the leading VPP company in Europe and therefore decided to collaborate. In particular, we were interested in the fact that Next Kraftwerke managed at the time 4.5 GW in assets.
Nils Quak: What kind of advantages are you expecting?
J-Ho LEE: We believe that Haezoom’s technology coupled with Next Kraftwerke’s experience and technological prowess shall materialize into the foremost VPP technology in Korea. This will allow Haezoom to be a pioneer in the yet to be developed electricity aggregator market.
Nils Quak: What was the process of starting a VPP like? How is the market in Korea evolving?
J-Ho LEE: As discussed during the kick-off session, Korea’s energy market is not yet liberalized, and extensive regulations are still in place. In December 2018, the “Small-scale Electricity Aggregator Programme” was introduced, and this can be seen as the early stages of a VPP market. To develop and vitalize the new market, 18 aggregators came together under Haezoom’s initiative to form the Council of Electricity Aggregators on 30 April 2019, of which Haezoom holds the chair. The Council is planning to recommend new policies in order to progress the market.
Nils Quak: What are your next steps / plans for the future?
J-Ho LEE: Haezoom desires to proceed with a R&D project with Next Kraftwerke. This would involve testing European VPP cases in Korea and utilizing the outcomes to further develop the Electricity Aggregator Programme.
Nils Quak: Felix, do you want to add anything? How’s setting up a VPP from a provider’s perspective?
Felix Jedamzik: Setting up a VPP always is an individual task since requirements vary from country to country and between the different use cases. As much as we are confident of setting up a VPP according to our customer’s needs, every new installation also brings us new knowledge about various intricate details we can then incorporate in our toolbox for setting up VPPs. It also helps us understand the individual power markets in different countries on a much finer level.