How much can companies save on energy costs by aggregating energy consumption and flexibly responding to market prices? This is being looked into by a consortium of seven organisations in the Zuidoost Business Park in the city of Groningen. ICT Group is involved in this project with the objective of investigating which technical facilities are required to make this possible.
A large proportion of energy demand in the Netherlands comes from the SME market. Most cities are unsure as to how to encourage these businesses to operate more sustainably. A consortium was therefore set up to examine methods for promoting the energy transition in the small and medium-sized business segment. The consortium includes ICT Group, Engie, Jules Energy, Enexis, New Energy Coalition, TU/e, the City of Groningen, and the Zuidoost Business Park.
Scheduling energy consumption to coincide with energy-generation peak hours, is also referred to as flexible power supply. For instance, if the energy consumption of an individual small or medium-sized business is too low to be able to supply flexible power, they could turn the tables by joining forces with other businesses. The consortium partners therefore focussed on finding a variety of companies with varying energy needs. Despite the fact of not having a completely airtight business case yet, they found six organisations willing to participate. An essential learning objective of this project is to be able to make more accurate estimates of the connection fees and potential savings. This will enable realistic estimates of future business cases for individual companies.
However, not all processes are suitable for deferred energy consumption. A cold store that is normally kept at a temperature of -18 degrees Celsius can easily be cooled to -22 degrees Celsius. It takes several hours for the temperature to subsequently increase to -18 degrees Celsius again. However, this is not an option for foods cold stores because they need to be kept between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius. As soon as the cold store’s door is opened, the temperature rises a few tenths of a degree. Some processes are more suitable for deferred energy consumption than others. Which processes this applies to is not always immediately obvious and will need to be further investigated on a case-by-case basis. One of our other learning objectives is therefore to develop a method to assess this more accurately.
“I’m very curious to find out how much they could potentially save, and we’ll know soon enough, because the project is about to be launched.”
– Marten van der Laan, Senior Business Consultant
Matching supply and demand
In addition to this comprehensive process with the six organisations, this project involves another process in the Zuidoost Business Park: Wasaweg Energieneutraal (Energy-Neutral Wasaweg). As part of this process, thirty businesses located at Wasaweg in Groningen interchange self-generated energy. ICT Group uses the energyNXT platform to assess which companies have an energy surplus at any given moment, and to which company it should subsequently be distributed. This also enables them to make an accurate estimate upfront for the business case for solar panels and a battery: based on energy consumption, what is the optimal capacity of a company’s solar panels and battery in order to achieve the highest possible savings? An underlying research question is to what extent a business park can become self-sufficient.
Our colleague Marten van der Laan has written a blog about his experiences. Read the blog here!