The invisible by-product of ALDEL: a more stable electricity grid

ALDEL site in the Netherlands

2019-12-11
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Delfzijl (Netherlands) / Le Bourget-du-Lac (France), December 10, 2019. ALDEL is the last aluminum producer in the Netherlands. But as one of the largest electricity consumers in the Netherlands, ALDEL has a special by-product: today ALDEL signs the cooperation contract with the French Smart energy manager ENERGY POOL whereby the electrical load of ALDEL is used to support the stability of the electricity grid. ENERGY POOL has been selected as a partner for the development of the required systems (automation infrastructure etc.), for the conversion of the installations and the implementation of the interface to TenneT the network operator. As a Balancing service provider, ENERGY POOL will finally operate 24/7 load modulation and provide customized support for market bidding strategy.

Cooperation agreement signature ALDEL ENERGY POOL

 

Emmanuel Cantegrel (Senior VP Business & International Development, Energy Pool) & Chris McNamee Executive Chairman of DAMCO Aluminium Delfzijl Coöperation U.A. (Aldel).

 

 

 

 

 

ENERGY POOL

ENERGY POOL has a 10-year experience in delivering balancing and ancillary services to system operators from load modulation. Through its unique software platform, ENERGY POOL connects, aggregates and optimizes end-users’ installations. ENERGY POOL enables its clients to seize opportunities on energy markets while enhancing their ability to adjust their consumption at critical times for the grid. In 2014, ENERGY POOL was the first aggregator to deliver frequency regulation services (FCR) to French TSO RTE from load modulation. ENERGY POOL manages a global portfolio of flexible load of 4GW and aims at being a key enabler of energy transition worldwide, allowing most people to have access to a low-carbon, competitive and reliable energy.

Historical help

ALDEL used to help the electricity grid by offering a large constant load for the conventional power stations (the base load). As a result, these power stations were able to keep running at a low pace at night in order to be able to supply the increasing demand for electricity quickly in the morning.
ALDEL is now helping the electricity grid by offering a variable load. For this, we are converting our large electrical installations together with ENERGY POOL: our old rectifier installations; 10 pieces with a capacity of 40,000 Amps each with a voltage of up to around 800 V, which were once built for that base load. After conversion, we do extensive tests to see what the installations can handle.

Virtual battery

After the conversion, ALDEL can act as a virtual battery that helps to stabilize the energy grid. This is necessary to compensate for the peaks and fluctuations of energy from wind and sun. ALDEL expects to be able to reach a variable load of 15 MW to support the grid frequency; that is a very large bandwidth. Real batteries of that caliber that are used to stabilize the grid cost considerably more than the costs for which ALDEL does it.

Green strategy as the back of the energy transition

The expected contribution to network stabilization by ALDEL, and then expressed in the professional terms used for this:

• Participation in FCR (frequency containment reserve, “frequency control”) for approx. 10 MW-15 MW,
• Participation in FRR (Frequency Restoration Reserve, “control capacity”) for approx. 10 MW-15 MW,
• Participation in mFRRda (Manual Frequency Restoration Reserve directly activated, “Emergency power”) approx. 150 MW, 200 MW in the future (when we are in full operation).

All this is relatively unique in view of the installations, capacity and reaction speed of the aluminum company. This shows how hard work is also being done at the back of the energy transition at ALDEL to make that transition possible at all.