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All about Decentralization

The Russian energy sector analyzed.
Energy Blog / Decentralization / Demand Response / Energy Market / VPP

Next Stop: Russia

Our blog series reports on the electricity markets of the world. Our next stop is Russia – Tobias Weghorn, International Business Development Manager at Next Kraftwerke, explored the country’s VPP potential.

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Birds are balancing on the electricity grid.
Energy Blog / Decentralization / Energy Market / Entsoe-e / Power Grid / Renewable Energy

Who is disrupting the utility frequency?

On 10 January 2019, the utility frequency of Europe’s power grid dropped to 49.8 hertz. Many factors contributed to the near-blackout that evening, but the incident is not the only one in recent weeks that has shaken the grid.

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Windfarm in the country site on an island.
Energy Blog / Decentralization / Energy Market / Renewable Energy / Virtual Power Plant / VPP

Renewable Energy Island – Part 1

Somewhere in the big blue ocean, there lies an island that can serve as a blueprint for the approach to tackle the challenges of climate change with a self-sufficient supply through renewable energies.

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Knowledge / Business Model / Decentralization / Knowledge / Virtual Power Plant / VPP

Virtual Power Plant

What is a Virtual Power Plant?Definition

In a Virtual Power Plant, decentralized units in a power network are linked and operated by a single, centralized control system. Those units can be either power producers (e.g. wind, biogas, solar, CHP, or hydro power plants), power storage units, power consumers or power-to-X plants (such as power-to-heat and power-to-gas). When integrated into a Virtual Power Plant, the power and flexibility of the aggregated assets can be traded collectively. Thus, even small units get access to the lucrative markets (like the market for balancing reserve) that they would not be able to enter individually. Any decentralized unit that consumes, stores, or produces electricity can become a part of a Virtual Power Plant. 

Additionally to operating every individual asset in the Virtual Power Plant, the central control system uses a special algorithm to adjust to balancing reserve commands from transmission system operators and to grid conditions – just as a larger, conventional power plant does. Furthermore, the Virtual Power Plant can react quickly and efficiently when it comes to trading electricity, thus adjusting plant operations according to price signals from the power exchanges.

The market changes, the powerplants have to follow: Global energy markets are facing major changes. We move from a model with centralized electricity generation in power plants operated by large utilities towards a mix of decentralized and often renewable energy production in small facilities. Those small scale plants are typically owned by small companies or households, who become ‘prosumers’: consumer and producer at the same time. 

We experience a true paradigm shift. The further penetration of renewable energy generation challenges the conventional way of operating our electricity system. Business models have to be reinvented and our grids redesigned. The variability of renewable sources like sun and wind do not necessarily endanger the system balance as long as they are dealt with appropriately. And that is exactly where a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) comes in.

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Jochen Schwill is one of the founders of Next Kraftwerke.
Energy Blog / Decentralization / Energy Market / Flexibility / Renewable Energy / Virtual Power Plant

Towards a more democratized energy world

This interview with Jochen Schwill (CEO of Next Kraftwerke) was first published in The Beam #5. Jochen Schwill (CEO of Next Kraftwerke) talks about the fundamentals of a Virtual Power Plant and the idea behind it.

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Biogas power plant as part of the digital virtual power plant.
Energy Blog / Decentralization / Digitization / Energy Market / Utility / Virtual Power Plant

Digitalization: Where are the German digital utilities?

In Germany, a lot has been written about two energy megatrends of our time, liberalisation of energy markets and decentralisation of the energy landscape. What we think has been neglected is a third megatrend: digitalisation.

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