Belgium: Demand response has significant potential

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A new study compiled by the Flemish research consortium Energyville indicates that Belgium has significant potential for demand response.

The study, which was jointly conducted with Belgium’s transmission operator Elia and the industrial energy consumers’ association Febeliec, involved 29 large industrial consumers, representing a consumption of 11.1 TWh, or about 13.6 % of Belgian electricity consumption in 2012.

Based on a survey, these companies appear to dispose of a flexible capacity of 631 MW. About two-thirds of this, 497 MW, can be called upon at very short notice (less than 15 minutes) by the grid operator in case of an imminent shortage, and generally this capacity already participates in the market. However, most of the remaining third, 134 MW, which can only be activated on a timescale of hours, is unused.

Belgium DR

These results are not inconsistent with estimates for other countries, nor with data for countries having more experience with demand response in a market environment, according to a statement.

Elia, Febeliec and EnergyVille say they prefer not to make extrapolations in order to estimate the total potential for demand response, but the technical potential in these companies is likely to be bigger than estimated and it is realistic to assume that additional capacity is also available in the companies which did not contribute to the survey.

Moreover, many companies showed a clear interest in this issue through the questionnaire and declared themselves available to be involved in future initiatives in this direction.

Less strict contractual obligations and longer announcement times (>1 hour) will help to address/extract new sources of flexibility in the industry, the report states.