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Friday, 24 February 2023

How Blockchain Technology enables Flexibility for TenneT

TenneT’s aspiration for Flexibility: “We are driving the energy transition by ensuring that all technologies can be unlocked by market parties and grid operators…” – to meet this aspiration TenneT has running multiple Flexibility Initiatives. One of them is connecting Flexibility Service Providers (FSPs), respectively Balancing Service Providers (BSPs), to TenneT using the Crowd Balancing Platform (CBP), operated by Equigy. The CBP is a blockchain-based system that enables communication and information flows between the parties involved in the transaction of flexibility services. By means of standardized resource registration, bidding, activation and measurement flows, the platform enables aggregators of distributed energy resources (DERs) to offer their flexibility services to the market.

Equigy is owned by several European transmission system operators and the platform is operational in multiple countries. Because energy markets and systems vary across nations, the platform is built in a flexible way so that it can meet the local needs in a specific market. This is realized by a generic core that is re-used across countries, whilst some specific components on top of that tailor the implementation to specific market rules, specifications and priorities. The CBP is also future-proof because the platform can function as one-stop-shop, by aiming for standardization of the data communication around aggregated flexibility. The objective is that, in the end, an FSP who is connected in one country is able to participate in other countries with limited additional IT investments.

For TenneT’s current situation, the adjustability of the flex services provided via the CBP is beneficial because of national differences between the German and the Dutch energy markets. To illustrate, in the Netherlands BSPs can connect to TenneT via the CBP to deliver secondary reserve (aFRR). Thereby, the CBP lowers the bar for FSPs (resp. BSPs) with a small asset pool to connect to TenneT because the CBP allows them to connect via commonly recognized internet communication standards. The BSP connects via APIs to the CBP; thereby the BSP’s information flows about the bids and the actual activation of assets is forwarded to TenneT. A recent onboarding showed that establishing the IT connection between the FSP and TenneT via the CBP easy and fast.

In Germany, the principle of information flows is similar. However, here the CBP fulfils a role in redispatch services. The redispatch 2.0 implicates that energy units with a capacity of 100kW or more need to participate in the congestion management schedule. However, also smaller installations can offer a solution to congestion issues too. The CBP provides this niche of market parties a vehicle to offer their redispatch services to grid operators. The CBP may also fulfil this functionality in the Netherlands, because congestion management in the Netherlands is an increasing concern.

Equigy plays a key role in the acceleration of the energy transition and the integration of the energy system. Promising pilot projects in both Germany and the Netherlands have demonstrated the large added value of the Crowd Balancing Platform for operation of the grid. Moreover, successful onboardings and several BSPs that are currently connecting to TenneT via the CBP proof that Equigy also add value to their businesses.

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