2.000 home batteries to keep Belgian electricity grid in balance

More than 2 000 families in Flanders help balance the Belgian electricity grid via their home batteries. Together, they will form one of the largest battery-powered virtual power plants with a six megawatts capacity – good for the grid but also a smart way to make a little on the side.

Renewable energy is far from predictable. Sometimes the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing; at other times, it’s grey, and there’s no wind. To cope with fluctuations in the supply of electricity, Elia has launched a new market model, in which consumers get a central role in matching their consumption with production.

Stable electricity grid

The result is a stable electricity grid, while consumers are rewarded for their flexibility without sacrificing comfort. Smart E-Grid/Opteco developed the technology. Opteco is a Limburg company specializing in installing solar panels and home batteries. It’s the only company that cooperates with grid manager Elia for the time being on this solution.

“We cannot control the sun,” explains Ben Kunnen, CEO of Opteco. “It either shines, or it doesn’t. But if we combine and manage all existing solar panel installations and battery systems, we can create a powerful, flexible solar power plant that helps in balancing the grid. This is the first step toward a smart energy community.”

‘More flexibility’

For Elia, it is important that everybody can contribute to the system. “Flexibility markets have been popular with large energy consumers (such as industry or large refrigeration installations) for nearly a decade. ”

“But if we want to integrate more renewable energy into the system, we will also have to integrate more flexibility into it and quickly increase the storage level. This means using battery storage in the home, in the car, and at work to ensure that precious green electrons are used most effectively,” says David Zenner, head of the consumer centricity of Elia.

Consumers need a home battery and a smart meter to participate. Those who participate don’t ‘feel’ anything about the operation. Their comfort remains the same as before, and they receive a remuneration that depends on the market prices in the balancing market.

Hundreds of euros

The larger the capacity the family offers, the larger the remuneration. On an annual basis, and depending on market prices, this can generate hundreds of euros for the end customer.

Opteco, the company that developed the technology, hopes to have 3 000 home batteries in their Smart E-Grid community by the end of this year Together, they will form a virtual electricity generating station of 6 MW, which Elia can use for balancing the grid. A first in Belgium.





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