A new solution shifts electricity consumption away from peak times, balances the grid and maximizes the use of wind and solar power generation.
9 August 2012
Maximizing benefits of renewable energy resources
A new solution shifts electricity consumption away
from peak times, balances the grid and reduces the
need for increased energy production. By adjusting
consumption to match fluctuations in renewable
energy generation, the solution maximizes the use of
wind and solar power generation. Less transmission
capability is needed and capital tied-up in reserve
energy resources can be directed towards smart
Fluctuations in energy consumption increase energy costs and emissions in a traditional energy
system. In addition, the grid can't work unless production and consumption are equal at all times.
Ensuring feasible costs and maintaining security of supply make it paramount to balance energy
production and consumption.
Traditional power plants ensure balancing by employing automation or professionals in the control
room to make sure that the level of production matches the level of consumption.
This model is unsustainable because centralized solutions do not scale into an environment of
distributed renewable resources. Growing by utilizing traditional energy sources is not feasible
because of depleting fuel supplies or growing emissions.
To solve this problem, Empower IM, Elenia, There Corporation, Helen, Fortum, Lappeenranta
University of Technology, Tampere University of Technology and VTT set out to build Demand
Response - a complete solution that would enable energy consumption to follow market signals,
making previously static metering points behave in an active way.
The solution was developed in the Smart Grids and Energy Markets (SGEM) program under the
CLEEN Ltd (Strategic Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation for Energy and
"Demand Response combines everything, from metering points to electricity suppliers and all the
parts in between, into a complete value chain. It is soon going to be piloted with specific energy
suppliers and networks," says SGEM Program Manager Jani Valtari from Cleen Ltd.
Creating a solution like this has been discussed in the academia and energy industry for years but
before recently it remained on the level of theoretical papers or was implemented manually in large
Creating multiple benefits
Demand Response can be used in the real world of dynamic energy markets, distributed roles and large numbers of customer
sites. It elevates customers today to be real participants in the future smart grids and energy markets developing right now.
The solution is most beneficial on the market- and national-level scope.
Implementing it into energy systems would enhance planning and
implementation of the balance in production and consumption.
As a result, the market would not need to provide as much transmission
capability as it does today and national capital tied-up in reserve energy
resources could be directed elsewhere.
In addition, the solution would enable new production resources to be
connected to the distribution grids that would otherwise not be able to sustain
such distributed two-way energy flows.
Maximizing renewable energy generation
The solution is highly beneficial especially for
maximizing the benefits of renewable energy
generation because it adjusts consumption to the
fluctuations in generation associated with
renewable energy like wind and solar power.
Since there are practically no marginal costs for
producing solar and wind energy, the solution
© Tomgriger enables the full use of this energy at all times and
allows us not to limit solar and wind production.
Without the solution, renewable energy production needs to be limited as has
been done in previous implementations around Europe.
The solution manages to combine balancing of the electricity system and
maximum use of renewable energies at all times by shifting consumption to
make use ofthe extra production. It can also be used to shift usage of stored
energy in EV batteries, supercapacitors or other storage solutions.
“The solution enables us to achieve balance in the electricity system in a way
otherwise impossible without limiting the energy production of renewable
resources,” says Development Director Jan Segerstam from Empower IM.
"The solution is key in making full use of renewable energy resources that will
become the backbone of production in future energy ecosystems."
Improving SMEs competitiveness
The solution also allows for better planning of interim production for small
and medium sized industry sites.
For example factories that produce an interim product like sawdust for particle
boards can reduce the cost of the final product by shifting production of
sawdust towards the night, when energy demand is smaller and therefore
Thus, the solution would help shift interim production based on market
information with less overhead than before. As a result, options previously
open only for large market players are opened up for smaller companies.
Automated Demand Response processes can also benefit smaller industries
through aggregation and single-site installation.
Market signals to shift home consumption
For instance, Empower IM together with There Corporation are developing a
solution that incorporates a device that would enable shifts in a household’s
energy consumption based on the market signals. This would deliver efficient
heating or air conditioning with less emissions.
Measuring environmental conditions in real-time
Speeding up smart grid recovery from faults
Open data induces better energy decisions