"Back there we see the Lingen nuclear power plant," says Thomas Voss, pointing north across the undulating Münsterland . "And there is the Ibbenburen coal-fired power station," he continues, now pointing east. "In between we have spread out." We, that is the energy cooperative of the Energielandwerker, which has grown into a strong association of power plant operators of the other, more sustainable type in the northern Münsterland. To date, around 155 renewable energy plants have joined forces in order to operate as a cooperative on the market. The cooperative's generation capacity is more than 270 megawatts, ranging from wind power to bioenergy and photovoltaics. Some loners between the omnipresent fossil power plants? With this renewable energy capacity, they are more likely to be a major regional player in the new energy world..
"Originally, we joined forces as a purchasing group," explains Thomas Voß, an industrial engineer. "However, the topic of electricity trading soon arose, primarily with regard to the German scheme of so-called direct marketing of electricity from renewable energies, but also with regard to alternative marketing channels. Since May 2016, Next Kraftwerke has been placing the electricity of the Energielandwerker from the Münsterland region on various marketplaces. "A whole series of points were important to us when selecting our trading partner. That's why we took a close look around the market. First, of course, the conditions had to be right. Secondly, we also paid close attention to expertise in aggregating and dispatching flexibility, as bioenergy CHP plants are also part of our portfolio. Thirdly, the structure of the company had to suit us. The solvency and the personal involvement of the managing directors at Next Kraftwerke are positive criteria.
Some of the electricity generated by the Energielandwerker is supplied by Next Kraftwerke to a municipal utility in the region to enable a regional electricity product for end consumers. The remaining quantities are traded on one of Europe's spot market power exchanges called EPEX SPOT. In addition, the dispatchable plants of the Energielandwerker supply the transmission grid operators with reserves that can be activated at short notice in order to support the electricity grid frequency: Balancing energy. "It is important for us to always retain control over the choice of marketing options. We want to be able to decide which paths our electricity takes," explains Voß.
Basically, a small virtual power plant was created within the international Next Pool of Next Kraftwerke. "The cooperation with Next Kraftwerke already ran smoothly in the first phase of the cooperation. This concerned both the joint design of our trading concept and the individual contract design. The technical connection and monthly billing procedures also work very well, and if there are any open questions or problems, we have personal customer service managers who have always reacted quickly," says Voß, reviewing the cooperation to this day. For the future, the expansion of the cooperative through the further inclusion of new plants is planned. So that the history of nuclear power plants and coal-fired power plants in the region will soon come to an end.