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Belgian C&I project combines front- and behind-the-meter battery capabilities in Virtual Power Plant

The Peleman onsite wind turbines are now co-located with the battery storage, housed in a shipping container-style enclosure. Image: Alfen.

Next Kraftwerke, offering ‘Virtual Power Plants-as-a-service’, will integrate a 2MW/2MWh battery at the premises of a commercial customer which will be integrated to offer both front-of-meter and behind-the-meter benefits.

Peleman Industries, a producer of presentation photographs and printed materials, signed a covenant on sustainability with the local municipality of Puurs, Belgium, in 2016 to exceed EU emissions reduction targets for 2020.

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Peleman has two wind turbines installed onsite to power its facility. The battery storage system, was supplied by Dutch Stock Exchange-listed Alfen and installed by sustainable energy company Eneco Belgium. It will store and integrate power from the turbines to be used onsite, as well as providing grid-balancing frequency regulation services to the local network. Placing the system ‘behind-the-meter’ as part of the existing Peleman facility’s private electricity network makes it a lot easier to connect the installation directly to the grid, Alfen said. Peleman CEO Esmeralda Peleman said the project should reduce the company’s use of energy at the facility by 10%.

When energy demand exceeds production locally, the battery system can help balance the equation, while in times of surplus the battery can be charged up relatively cheaply. It is thought to be the first time in Belgium a behind-the-meter asset on a customer site has been used to provide front-of-meter balancing services.

“You should consider the electricity grid as a balance; production on the one side and consumption on the other,” Eneco Solar & Storage Belgium CEO Iwein Goigne said.

“This system always has to be in balance in order to provide everyone with energy. Large deviations can cause an instability in the electricity grid which could lead to a disruption in electricity supply. The battery transfers exactly the right amount of electricity to or from the grid to ensure the system is always in balance.”

Algorithms ensure 24/7 availability of resources

Germany-headquartered Next Kraftwerke operates a centrally controlled ‘Virtual Power Plant’ aggregating resources in its home country as well as now adding distributed energy resources (DERs) in Belgium, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, and Italy. Next Kraftwerke said it is “teaming up” with Eneco and Alfen to integrate the 2MWh Peleman battery into this ‘Virtual Power Plant Next Pool’.

“Apart from using only sustainable energy, the response time of the battery is also much faster and more accurate than any other technology delivering frequency control reserve (FCR) to the Belgian grid. It is the first battery connected to the distribution grid which is offering frequency control reserve to the national grid,” Paul Kreutzkamp, Next Kraftwerke Belgium co-founder and co-manager said.

Next Kraftwerke uses a central control unit, the Next Box, to connect the resources. The system could be called on to provide FCR at any time of day or night, meaning it has to be able to run continuously. Similarly, the Next Pool uses algorithms in its control system to ensure the battery will have enough energy stored in it to respond to signals from the grid operator that FCR balancing needs to happen, using Next Kraftwerke’s 200mHz FCR product.

This initial phase of adding grid-balancing capabilities comes before the integration of the onsite wind turbines. Later on in the project, Next Kraftwerke said, it and Alfen and Eneco “will work to align the charging strategy with the generation of the two wind turbines on site”.

The project follows on from RESTORE, another large-scale energy storage project in Belgium. An 18MW Tesla Powerpack system in Terhills, eastern Belgium, will join electricity trading markets as well as providing reserve and frequency control. Restore is owned by UK multinational energy services company Centrica.

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