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Germany lacks flexibility for peak demand cut – expert

21 Oct 2022 10:58

Foto: IndustryAndTravel, shutterstock

Foto: IndustryAndTravel, shutterstock

21 Oct 2022 10:58

(Montel) Germany may have to cut power demand by 3 GW during peak winter hours to meet EU mandates but the power system’s lack of flexibility could hinder its efforts, said a state-backed research group.

Companies operating at a flat load profile can benefit from reduced network charges, which lowers their incentive to optimise consumption in line with volatile spot market prices, said Martin Weibelzahl, researcher at SynErgie, a group focused on industrial load management funded by the German ministry of education and research.

The government had to update this “outdated regulation immediately” to allow consumers to adapt their load with prices and avoid severe power shortages this winter, he told Montel. “The worst thing we can do is to use a central institution that forces companies to lower their demand.”

Soaring energy prices amid scarce supplies prompted the European Commission to dictate mandatory consumption cuts of 5% during peak hours across all member states. In January, Germany would have to reduce power demand by 3.4 GW during peak hours, Montel calculations found.

Montel’s Energy Quantified (EQ) recorded an average 67.5 GW of demand in Germany during peak January hours over the past seven years. February and March would require cuts of 3.4 GW and 3.3 GW, respectively.

However, Germany’s industrial demand side management capacity stood at around 1.5 GW, while battery storage capacity was 1 GW, data from network regulator BNA showed.

Outdated regulations
The data suggests Germany may struggle to meet this mandatory target based on available demand side response and installed battery capacity alone.

The lack of interest in the demand side management scheme stemmed from outdated regulations, experts told Montel.

“The technology is developed but there are no incentives to use it,” said Can Kaymakci, fellow researcher at the SynErgie project.

There had been growing interest from companies seeking to analyse their manufacturing processes and better manage demand since power prices began to soar in 2021, said Kaymakci.

Crisis management
The situation has worsened since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. “We have to solve both the climate crisis and the energy crisis – flexibility really helps to make progress in both,” said Weibelzahl.

Among the sectors analysed by SynErgie, Germany’s industrial load management potential was up to 19.7 GW, of which 9 GW could increase load and 10.7 GW could reduce load.

Berlin is set to propose measures to reduce power demand in November amid the EU’s attempts to tackle the energy crisis.

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