The Next Pool virtual power plant grew by 1.35 gigawatts (GW) to a total of four GW in 2017. That is an increase of 50 percent compared to the size of the portfolio at the end of 2016. The growth further cements Next Kraftwerke’s position as one of the largest virtual power plants in Europe. Around one GW was added in Germany alone, with an additional 350 megawatts (MW) coming from the company's seven international subsidiaries. Jochen Schwill, managing director and founder of Next Kraftwerke: “This development shows that we are well-positioned on the market. We’re going into 2018 with plenty of optimism.”
The Cologne-based company expanded its portfolio of all energy sources, particularly in solar, wind, and bioenergy. The solar branch was an especially strong area for growth in 2017. Next Kraftwerke added a total of 530 MW in solar energy for domestic energy trading. The photovoltaic “SolarSpot” rate option was also successfully launched. Operators of relatively small PV assets between 100 kWp and 800 kWp can sign up online for the Next Kraftwerke direct marketing rate. Around 180 customers signed up for SolarSpot in 2017, adding approximately 75 MW to the Next Pool. “In light of this growth, we were particularly pleased that our Next Pool was recognized as an Intersolar Award ‘Outstanding Solar Project’ this year,” Schwill said.
Around 175 MW were added in Germany from bioenergy assets, while wind assets provided an additional 260 MW to Next Kraftwerke. Internationally, the company added 280 MW in wind power to its portfolio, 20 MW in photovoltaic, 20 MW in hydro, and 30 MW in bioenergy.
The strong portfolio growth took place during an eventful year for Next Kraftwerke. In May, the company announced that the Dutch renewable energy Eneco Group acquired a minority stake of 34 percent in Next Kraftwerke. This enabled Next Kraftwerke to expand even further and strengthen its position on the European market. In July, Next Kraftwerke purchased the remaining shares of Energie365 and completed the acquisition of the Dutch energy startup. In addition, Next Kraftwerke made its market debut in Italy and opened the Next Pool for the Swiss control reserve market. Next Kraftwerke is now active as an energy trader in eight European countries and is a prequalified control reserve provider in seven European control zones. Additionally, Next Kraftwerke has already secured contracts for the supply of 140 GWh in the commercial and industrial sectors in 2018. These were predominantly the variable energy rates ‘Best of 96’ and ‘Take Your Time.’
Jochen Schwill: “In 2017, we kept Next Kraftwerke on track internationally and continued our strategic expansion. Our goal is to accelerate the energy transition with digital technology. Together with our customers, we took a big step in the last year.”