Happy Power Hour II: Generating when the sun shines

As part of the ”Happy Power Hour II” research project, an electricity tariff for industrial companies was developed and implemented which enables production processes to be flexibly adjusted to electricity exchange price fluctuations. With the reorganisation of their production processes, the companies save costs and also make a contribution to the successful transformation of the energy system.

The aim of the research project is to motivate medium-sized businesses through financial incentives to adjust the timing of their production processes to fit the fluctuating prices of the electricity exchange. To motivate the companies to introduce the processes enabling a time delay or flexibility in scheduling to make straightforward use of the potential available, a dynamic power tariff was developed by the local energy supplier. As the process brings savings in electricity costs, it provides a financially attractive alternative to traditional power procurement. To enable the businesses to be able to react to sudden electricity price changes during their production processes, the necessary communications, control and regulation technology as well as the appropriate software was also developed as part of the project.

Engine for progress:

  • Financial savings possibilities for industrial businesses
  • Contribution to the future stability of the power grid system
  • Tapping unused potential
  • Interdisciplinary research and development project

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Photo: Stefan Tesche-Hasenbach (WSW)

The Wuppertal firm Stahlwille Eduard Wille Gmbh & Co. KG has been an industrial partner in the research project since mid-2016. Through ”Happy Power Hour II”, their power costs will be sustainably optimised through the use of renewable energy sources during periods of favourable conditions.

Adjusting production processes to green electricity generation

Because of the successful progress of the energy transition and the related development of renewable energy sources, it becomes increasingly important to match the demand side more closely to the feed-in of green electricity. Many industrial processes offer the possibility of flexibility or load transfer in respect of planned procedures. Up to now, this potential has remained largely unused, because the costs of electricity are the same for businesses at any time of day. This is due to the mainly standard long-term energy contracts, which are based on fixed electricity prices. But electricity is not worth the same at all points in time. As the price is established as a balance of supply and demand, it is relatively low at times of high feed-in from renewables and may even become negative – which would mean that at those times the energy producer has to pay the consumer. At times of low feed-in or rising demand on the other hand, the electricity price is higher. Examples of industrial processes suitable for a dynamic power tariff include curing or tempering ovens, cold stores and also the charge management of forklift trucks.

Financial incentives through dynamic power tariffs

The power tariff developed in the project passes on short-term price fluctuations of the electricity exchange directly to the industrial clients. That gives the customer a financial incentive to move forwards or backwards steps in the production process, which are flexible timewise, according to the spontaneous changes in the electricity price. This allows the customer to reduce his electricity bill, but it also supports the stabilising of the power grid: when renewable electricity production is running at full blast, power consumption should, if possible, be increased; and if renewable production is low, consumption should be reduced. For power consumption and production to remain in balance, it is particularly important in an energy system which relies on renewable energy sources for power consumption to be appropriately adapted, as part of the power generation can fluctuate massively. Through their behaviour, industrial businesses can not only save money but also make an important contribution to the integration of renewable energies. The aim is to reduce the organisational effort of the business to a minimum and to automate the development and implementation of the process scheduling to obtain the best electricity price.

This project is supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Photo: E/D/E

“The themes of responsibility and sustainability have always been highly valued by our business. By taking part in the ”Happy Power Hour II” research project, we would like to make our contribution to the successful transformation of the energy system and in future engage our flexible power users to benefit the market.”

Jennifer Probst, Sustainability Department, E/D/E (Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler GmbH)

Partners and sponsors

  • Bergische Universität Wuppertal
  • WSW Energie & Wasser AG
  • NetSystem GmbH
  • Neue Effizienz - Bergische Gesellschaft für Ressourceneffizienz mbH
  • CSCP gGmbH
  • EU-Förderung