The rise of renewable energies in the energy mix complicates this balancing act.
Energy Pool provides electrical flexibility in the service of grid balance
With the development of renewable energies in France and the rise of the energy mix, the question arises of the storage of electricity and above all of a permanent balance between consumption and production. In fact, sun and wind do not necessarily produce energy at the time of peak consumption in French households. Manufacturers and local authorities are then involved and participate in maintaining the balance of the network thanks to their flexibility. Energy Pool, a pioneer since 2010 in the aggregation of electrical flexibility with manufacturers, contributes to this balance between consumption and production.
Cross interview with
Director of Operations for Western Europe
Anne-Gaëlle Mazzolini, business development manager
« Implementing electrical flexibility in production processes can reduce the electricity bill by around 3 to 10%. «
What are the electrical flexibility solutions?
Christian Simon: For an industrialist, the first step is to carry out an energy consumption audit. Several topics are discussed around a global issue: reducing the bill or CO2 emissions as well as self-consumption, for example. The flexibility of electricity consumption is one of the solutions. In this case, we identify the sources of flexibility. Technical equipment which is able to modify its consumption, production processes which can be shifted over time, and whose modulation allows value to be released on the energy markets. Indeed, the energy producers and the network operator (RTE) offer an advantageous tariff for the purchase of this non-consumption when the needs are greatest in order to avoid imbalances on the network. This not only optimizes consumption but also reduces the bill, in the order of 3 to 5% for small units, and 5 to 10% for large consumers. This is not negligible on a bill of several million euros per year. From these elements, we then build a business model that implements the most attractive flexibility for the manufacturer.
How is this flexibility organized within the production sites?
Christian Simon: From our head office in Chambéry, our operational center is connected 24 hours a day with 200 French industrial sites. Thanks to an intelligent box, the DR Box, we are able to communicate with them, to take measurements, to report information, to carry out analyzes and to give consumption orders. From the day before until a few minutes before the consumption modulation requested by the network manager.
Anne-Gaëlle Mazzolini: We operate the electrical flexibility of industrialists in various sectors such as iron and steel, metallurgy, cement, paper, foundry, shopping centers but also more and more small industries. One of our clients, a chemist, whom we have supported since 2013, was the first French manufacturer to participate in the primary reserve, the first national network balancing system.
What are the prospects for the development of electrical flexibility?
Anne-Gaëlle Mazzolini: Electricity flexibility is now aimed at manufacturers and local authorities. For the latter, we assess the challenges of electrical flexibility for the management of their fleet of electric buses or their heat pump heating system, for example.
Internationally, Energy Pool has subsidiaries in Turkey, Japan and Cameroon to conduct operations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. We now cover around ten countries. International business represents 50% of our turnover. While the concept of electrical flexibility is not yet well developed abroad, the prospects are very important there.