Next Kraftwerke developed a virtual power plant that combines the flexibility of both power producers and consumers by using cloud-computing technology and decentralised power producers. The aggregated power can be used to provide control reserve in order to balance out fluctuation in the grid.
A large number of small, decentralised renewable power plants are feeding into the power system. A high percentage of their production is volatile. This fluctuating power production and the industrial power consumption need to be balanced in order to avoid unwanted congestion in the grid. Next Kraftwerke has developed a cloud-computing technology, which combines the flexibility of power producers and consumers into a single Virtual Power Plant. The aggregated power can be used to provide control reserve in order to balance out fluctuation in the grid. It allows for intelligent shifting of the power production to times with high prices at the power exchange, while shifting the power consumption to lower price regions.
The Next Pool connects more than 2,900 medium- and small-scale power-producing and power-consuming units (1.9GW) with a fully automated centralised control system. Each individual asset is integrated via a remote-control unit called Next Box. The control unit reads the status of each asset and is able to control the asset automatically. This way the Virtual Power Plant can react to control reserve calls with an extremely high granularity. The largest group of participants consists of biogas plants as their production is steady and therefore a perfect energy source for stabilising the grid. This Virtual Power Plant provides secondary and tertiary control reserve for the whole system.
Next Kraftwerke is the operator of a large-scale Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and a certified power trader on various European energy exchanges (such as EPEX and EEX). Their VPP technology and concept can be transferred to different markets, only the varying market designs of the different countries need to be taken into account.