Grid curtailment in Germany

Tough nut to crack? Not with batteries and flexibility! Learn from our battery expert Swagath Bhat how flexibility, expansion of the grid and battery energy storage systems (BESS) as well as their optimisation can help to keep the lights on in Europe.

Let’s have a look on the current situation!

At 251.2 terawatt-hours (TWh), overall generation from renewable energy sources was about 7.5% higher in 2023 than in the previous year with 233.7 TWh. However, grid congestion costed Germany a whopping 3.13 billion euros and a record high of 10 TWh of curtailed renewable energy in 2023.

Why curtail the power?

The network operators are, by law, authorised and obliged to take certain measures to maintain the security and reliability of the electricity supply system: Redispatching, deployment of reserve power plants and feed-in management are some of the measures taken by the network operator today in Germany.

Network congestion management measures 2017-2022 in GWh

Source: Bundesnetzagentur

The figure suggests how the grid is increasingly becoming congested as seen from the steadily increasing redispatch measures https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/EN/Areas/Energy/SecurityOfSupply/NetworkSecurity/start.html.

What was done so far to keep the lights on?

About 10TWh of fossil electricity and 5.6 GW of conventional generation was paid as part of ramp up and grid reserve measures linked with congestion management topic. https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/DE/Fachthemen/ElektrizitaetundGas/Versorgungssicherheit/Netzengpassmanagement/start.htmlIn a world where we speak of becoming carbon neutral, these figures are alarmingly high.

What should be done instead?

Curtailment must be tackled with a holistic vision. Here are some widely discussed topics that we would like to throw some light on:

Price zones

Many experts argue that a price zone split for Germany is the need of the hour, but taking all implications into account, this is not the panacea. Our COO Christoph Gardlo has written a blog article on this topic explains why he sees more disadvantages than advantages

Build more battery energy storage systems (BESS), today!

Today energy storage is being built in Germany even without subsidies because of realised revenues. In fact, battery energy storage systems (BESS) have proven to contribute to security of supply in multiple occasions in different regions (check out this recent frequency event in GB for instance).

Most importantly battery energy storages need to be seen as a smart flexibility option and not as the sole consumer of electricity. Under this premise, the current grid tariffs for the right to use the grid could be reduced https://tennet-drupal.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/default/2024-02/EVA_TenneT%20whitepaper_v1_Final_0.pdf.

Grid infrastructure buildout for reaching climate neutrality

Even if we build infinite number of batteries today, curtailment issues will persist because it is a transmission problem too. On March 1st, Bundesnetzagentur confirmed new electricity Network Development Plan (NDP) https://www.bundesnetzagentur.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2024/20240301_NEP.html for a climate neutral energy supply. On an average German TSOs plan to invest 13.54 billion euros annually leading to climate neutrality in 2045 https://ember-climate.org/insights/research/putting-the-mission-in-transmission-grids-for-europes-energy-transition/ In the near term, transmission connected batteries at strategic locations can expand power grid capacity and reduce the need for costly redispatch measures https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sma-solar-technology-ag_smas-grid-forming-solution-provides-stability-activity-7173626402376826882-uJPt.

At least €30bn is earmarked for national transmission grids in Europe, with a huge push from Germany

Planned investment in national transmission grids, average annual over plan timeframe (in billion euros)

Source: EMBER

The new age of flexibility options

Bitcoin mining facilities https://modoenergy.com/research/podcast-bitcoin-mining-grid-support-jamie-mcavity-transmission and Datacentres which are energy intensive are increasingly seen as an alternative to support grid resilience. These options along with a surge in Vehicle-To-Grid (V2G) and Behind-the-meter applications (check our press release with sonnen or our blog article with 1komm5) can be of tremendous value in demand side shifting.

Smart flexibility optimisation is important to achieve net zero!

Even with all the power grid expansion efforts and flexibility availability, we would need smart flexibility trading methods to ensure security of supply and efficient handling of demand side response. Doing this with high returns for the market players requires excellent track record in energy trading and good communication protocols with the transmission (TSO) and distribution system operators (DSO).

In conclusion, it is important to view the market holistically, so we can reduce Germany’s curtailment costs and reliance on fossil power and pave the way to a secure energy supply.

By focusing on important and urgent measures such as the expansion of the power grid infrastructure and a considerable expansion of flexibility and storage options, we can reduce the costs for frequency maintenance and redispatch measures caused by the need to integrate renewable energy producers. Lastly, smart handling of the flexibility and energy storage options available to increase grid utilisation is a must have to enable a sustainable and predominantly renewable energy-based grid for all.

Want to learn more about our multi-market BESS optimization? Get in touch with Swagath:

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As specific as your need:
Our answer

We are specialised in developing solutions customised to your personal requirements. And you can also righty expect this based on the information you receive from us.

We are happy to advise you

Theodora Trah

Dr. Theodora Trah | Marketing & Projects
+49.201.22038-153
theodora.trah@esforin.com

ESFORIN SE

+49.201.22038-100
info@esforin.com
Ruhrallee 201 | 45136 Essen

We are happy to advise you

Theodora Trah

Dr. Theodora Trah | Marketing & Projects
+49.201.22038-153
theodora.trah@esforin.com

ESFORIN SE | +49.201.22038-100 | info@esforin.com | Ruhrallee 201 | 45136 Essen

As specific as your need: Our answer

We are specialised in developing solutions customised to your personal requirements. And you can also righty expect this based on the information you receive from us.