The energy transition comes with a big shift: from dispatchable fossil fuel power plants to non-dispatchable renewable energy, wind and solar. This triggers an increasing need for and shift towards flexibility at the electricity consumption side. While clear to most actors by now, the question that remains is: how will this big shift materialise?
An electricity system relies on a healthy equilibrium of supply and demand of flexibility. It is the Transmission System Operator (TSO), Elia in Belgium, who sources the required flexibility to keep the electricity system stable and thus defines the demand for flexibility (1). Also Flexibility Service Providers (FSP) or aggregators work on the demand side of flex, as they source, organise, facilitate and make available the flex to the TSO.
But who takes care of the supply side of flexibility? Some assets are inherently flexible: dispatchable power plants, or even purposefully build for flex: Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). However, there is a 3rd and increasingly crucial source of flexibility: Demand Side Management (DSM), a.k.a. Demand Side Response (DSR), a.k.a. Demand Response (DR), i.e. flexibility provided by the consumers of electricity.
At Entras we work on the supply side of flex, more specifically on the flexibility that can be offered by industrial consumers. This is a crucial segment of DR, and requires a deep insight into and understanding of the industrial process and its operational constraints, after all the process always comes first (2).
All this knowledge is captured by Entras in a digital twin of the industrial process, which we then use to detect, determine, optimise and make the industrial flex available to the market.
Is Entras a competitor of energy suppliers or aggregators? We don’t think so, we rather see ourselves as a necessary link in the chain to unlock flex, balance the supply and demand of flex and keep the energy transition going.
- It does so in its role as Flexibility Requesting Party (FRP). The flexibility as sourced by the TSO, explicit flexibility, is only a certain part of the required flexibility in the electricity system. We go into more detail on this in our next blogpost.
- In a next blogpost we go into more detail why this narrative might (need to) change and what the concept of design for flexibility is.