Mitsui & Co., Ltd. partners with Next Kraftwerke for air conditioning load management in demand-response project

Published: 14. February 2017

How can smaller energy consumers be intelligently networked and controlled to create a power system with a high proportion of renewables and an adequate amount of flexibility? Next Kraftwerke partner with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (MITSUI), Japan-based trading, investment and service enterprises, to work on an international demonstration project, which is funded by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), to address this question by October 2019.

As part of the project, Next Kraftwerke is linking several air conditioning units in Lisbon, Portugal. The contract comes from one of the project's partners, MITSUI, and the air conditioning units with cold storage are manufactured by Daikin Industries, Ltd. Following installation of the remote-controlled Next Box, Next Kraftwerke's central control system calculates the optimal operation of the air conditioners. Several parameters go into the calculation, including user restrictions (e.g. temperature settings) and technical limitations of the units. Current energy prices and grid conditions are also contributing factors.
Jochen Schwill, founder and CEO of Next Kraftwerke, sees the demonstration project as a testing ground for the future configuration of the energy system. “The energy market 2.0 requires flexible energy consumers to be integrated. With our contribution to this demand-response project, we want to see how much air conditioners with flexible consumption operating in southern countries can contribute to a system transfer. We’ll be paying close attention to potential short-term benefits for the market or the system. This could for example mean ramping up the energy consumption of the ACs and their cold storages during periods of high power production from volatile renewables such as solar or wind power.”
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Next Kraftwerke

Next Kraftwerke operates one of the biggest Virtual Power Plants in Europe. By utilizing the full potential of digitalization, the company networks thousands of energy-producing and energy-consuming units in the Virtual Power Plant “Next Pool”. Through its technology and trading, clients are able to produce and consume electricity when prices are best for them. By trading their aggregated power 24/7 on different energy spot markets the Virtual Power Plant also makes a substantial contribution to stabilizing the grid by smartly distributing the power generated and consumed by the individual units in times of peak load.