Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 6: Stabilizing the grid with regional virtual power plants
Many EU-Member States have launched feed-in tariffs and other measures to support the development of decentralized power plants using renewable energy sources. However, with regard to a better integration of renewable energy sources into the energy markets, such support measures are constantly being reduced. To date, renewable energy sources have started to influence the stability of the electricity grids and dominate the landscape in many European regions. The questions arising from these facts are: Can renewable energy sources be profitable without support measures like feed-in tariff systems? Can they contribute to the stability of the electricity system? And, is it possible to let Europe’s regions profit from developments in this context? One answer to these questions might be regional virtual power plants. They can be used to gather renewable energy sources of the region and provide high quality energy products stabilizing the grid: so called ancillary services. Selling those ancillary services to the transmission system operators, also known as TSOs, can give the participating renewable energy sources the financial means to leave the feed-in tariff system. At the same time, stakeholders of the regional virtual power plants, for example municipalities, municipal utilities and citizens, have the chance to profit from the renewable energy sources in their region. The most valuable ancillary services are the primary control reserve, secondary control reserve and minute reserve, which are used to stabilize the frequency of the electricity system at 50 hz.
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