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Alpiq and the fine chemicals manufacturer DSM make secondary balancing power available to Swissgrid

Lausanne - After successfully passing the pre-qualification process, Alpiq and DSM Nutritional Products recently started providing secondary balancing power to the national grid operator Swissgrid using a virtual power plant. The system at the Lalden chemical plant is extremely versatile and its capacity for very fast output changes enables it to be used as a secondary balancing reserve. Alpiq is thus expanding its balancing pool in Switzerland to include decentralised demand-side systems using the new «Energy Artificial Intelligence» platform.

At the chemical plant in Lalden in the Swiss canton of Valais, Alpiq and DSM are using a process heat plant to provide balancing energy. The national grid operator Swissgrid uses this balancing energy, which can be made available within a matter of seconds, in order to stabilise the transmission grid. The system, which was pre-qualified for the provision of secondary balancing power, has an electrical heat output of 2 MW that is used for process heating. As a component of Swissgrid’s ancillary services, the system at the Lalden chemical plant can be flexibly deployed at any time, is capable of very fast load changes and is thus ideally suited to help stabilise the electricity grid.

Added value for customers through the provision of balancing power

Analogous to a conventional power plant, which increases or reduces its output according to demand, an electricity consumer can adapt its electrical load, in order to balance the generation and consumption depending on Swissgrid’s requirements. The provision or holding in reserve of this balancing power is compensated with a premium. In addition to their main function as an emergency heat generator, the heating rods with an output of 2 MW at the chemical plant in Lalden generate an additional added value for the stability of the grid.

Pooling to form a virtual power plant

Alpiq has already integrated the system into its decentralised balancing pool. The dispatch algorithm, which was developed specifically for this application, enables all types of electricity consumers, generators or so-called prosumers to be pooled to form a virtual power plant. The pooling of DSM’s systems in order to provide secondary balancing power has allowed Alpiq to expand its balancing pool in collaboration with a leading company in the chemicals sector. Together with partners who own decentralised generators and consumers, such as wastewater treatment plants, Alpiq’s pool is being continuously expanded with the goal of surpassing the 10 MW threshold as soon as possible. Thanks to its pooling solution, Alpiq will strengthen its position as an innovation leader in the Swiss energy sector.

The expansion of the balancing pool with DSM’s systems is one of numerous possible applications of the Alpiq «Energy Artificial Intelligence» platform, which can process all types of information in real time and which can calculate or even directly execute the optimal decision possibilities for customers and their assets, flexibility or portfolio. These energy services consist of customer-oriented optimisation solutions, which Alpiq offers throughout Europe within the framework of its strategy that is geared towards the development of its digital business.

DSM Nutritional Products is the leading global supplier of vitamins, carotenoids and other fine chemicals for manufacturers of animal feed, foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products and toiletries.

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