Chemical producer Nobian’s chlorine plant in Rotterdam is Vattenfall’s first large-scale industrial customer to provide flexible capacity to the Netherlands grid.
The need for flexibility is necessitated to respond to the increasing fluctuations in the supply of electricity with the growing share of solar and wind energy, to which the chlorine production can be quickly adjusted.
This adjustment is automated through real-time support from Vattenfall with a total of 40MW of flexible capacity available, equivalent to one-fifth of Nobian’s chlorine capacity.
When less power is available in relation to the demand, the chlorine production is automatically scaled down. The production is increased again when the supply allows.
“In a near future, today’s power plants will not always be running. Still, the power grid must remain in balance 24 hours a day. This is why we need new flexibility that can respond to this,” says Erik Suichies, Head of Wholesale at Vattenfall.
“By adding a large off-take customer to our flexible asset pool, we are making a transition so that we don’t only manage production, but from now on we can also accurately adjust demand.”
Grid balancing is the responsibility of the TSO TenneT, which purchases regulating power from Vattenfall among various other suppliers.
The current supply of regulating power comes mainly from fossil power plants. By using the flexibility from the chlorine plant, less fossil energy is needed to stabilise the grid.
Maarten Abbenhuis, COO at TenneT, estimates the potential of industrial demand management in the Netherlands at around 3.4GW, of which between 700MW and 1900MW is in use currently.
“The potential capacity of flexible electricity use by industry is very promising,” he says.