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See detailThe role of flexibility in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: Contributing to a sustainable and resilient energy future in Europe
Heffron, Raphael J.; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Schoepf, Michael UL et al

in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2021), 140

The energy sector provides fuel for much of everyday life, particularly economically and socially. Fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, a well-functioning and resilient energy sector is vital for ... [more ▼]

The energy sector provides fuel for much of everyday life, particularly economically and socially. Fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, a well-functioning and resilient energy sector is vital for maintaining the operation of critical infrastructures, including, most importantly, the health sector, and timely economic recovery. Notwithstanding its importance in everyday life and crises, the energy sector itself is currently in a complex and far-reaching transformation to combat climate change whilst supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and society, mainly through the development of variable renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and solar photovoltaics. This paper highlights the need for energy resilience as countries face the triple challenge of the COVID-19 health crisis, the consequent economic crisis, and the climate crisis. Focusing on Europe, it is advanced here that with the ability to balance fluctuating electricity generation and demand, flexibility allows the energy sector to utilise low-carbon RES reliably, ensuring a more resilient and sustainable energy future. This paper derives five urgent policy recommendations for Europe that address possible impacts of COVID-19 on the economic and societal prerequisites for flexibility in energy systems. [less ▲]

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See detailHow did the German and other European electricity systems react to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Halbrügge, Stephanie; Schott, Paul; Weibelzahl, Martin et al

in Applied Energy (2021), 285

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic led to decreases in electricity demand and a rising share of Renewable Energy Sources in various countries. In Germany, the average proportion of net electricity ... [more ▼]

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic led to decreases in electricity demand and a rising share of Renewable Energy Sources in various countries. In Germany, the average proportion of net electricity generation via Renewable Energy Sources rose above 55% in the first half of 2020, as compared to 47% for the same period in 2019. Given these altered circumstances, in this paper we analyze how the German and other European electricity systems behaved during the COVID-19 pandemic. We use data visualization and descriptive statistics to evaluate common figures for electricity systems and markets, comparing developments during the COVID-19 pandemic with those of previous years. Our evaluation reveals noticeable changes in electricity consumption, generation, prices, and imports/exports. However, concerning grid stability and ancillary services, we do not observe any irregularities. Discussing the role of various flexibility options during the COVID-19 pandemic, a relatively higher grid capacity resulting from a decreased electricity consumption, in particular, may have contributed to grid stability. [less ▲]

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See detailNot All Doom and Gloom: How Energy-Intensive and Temporally Flexible Data Center Applications May Actually Promote Renewable Energy Sources
Fridgen, Gilbert UL; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Walters, Steffen et al

in Business and Information Systems Engineering (2021)

To achieve a sustainable energy system, a further increase in electricity generation from renewable energy sources (RES) is imperative. However, the development and implementation of RES entail various ... [more ▼]

To achieve a sustainable energy system, a further increase in electricity generation from renewable energy sources (RES) is imperative. However, the development and implementation of RES entail various challenges, e.g., dealing with grid stability issues due to RES’ intermittency. Correspondingly, increasingly volatile and even negative electricity prices question the economic viability of RES-plants. To address these challenges, this paper analyzes how the integration of an RES-plant and a computationally intensive, energy-consuming data center (DC) can promote investments in RES-plants. An optimization model is developed that calculates the net present value (NPV) of an integrated energy system (IES) comprising an RES-plant and a DC, where the DC may directly consume electricity from the RES-plant. To gain applicable knowledge, this paper evaluates the developed model by means of two use-cases with real-world data, namely AWS computing instances for training Machine Learning algorithms and Bitcoin mining as relevant DC applications. The results illustrate that for both cases the NPV of the IES compared to a stand-alone RES-plant increases, which may lead to a promotion of RES-plants. The evaluation also finds that the IES may be able to provide significant energy flexibility that can be used to stabilize the electricity grid. Finally, the IES may also help to reduce the carbon-footprint of new energy-intensive DC applications by directly consuming electricity from RES-plants. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Different Electricity Pricing Systems Affect the Energy Trilemma : Assessing Indonesia?s Electricity Market Transition
Heffron, Raphael J.; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Sumarno, Theresia et al

Report (2021)

Many countries have a clear policy objective of increasing their share of renewable energy sources (RESs). However, a major impediment to higher RES penetration often lies in the historically grown ... [more ▼]

Many countries have a clear policy objective of increasing their share of renewable energy sources (RESs). However, a major impediment to higher RES penetration often lies in the historically grown structures of a country’s electricity sector. In Indonesia, policymakers have relied on cheap fossil fuels and state control to provide the population with access to both reliable and affordable electricity. However, this focus on only two of the three horns of the energy trilemma, namely energy security and energy equity (and not sustainability), may put Indonesia at risk of missing its ambitious RES targets. In this context, a number of small- scale reform attempts to promote RES integration in recent years have proved to be relatively unsuccessful. Like many other countries, Indonesia needs clear policy directions to avoid an unsustainable lock-in into a fossil fuel future. In the last decades, several other countries have successfully restructured their electricity sectors, for example by introducing a wholesale market for electricity under different electricity pricing systems, including nodal, zonal, or uniform pricing. These countries may hold valuable experiences of overcoming the historically grown barriers to successful RES integration through a greater role for market mechanisms. This paper develops three generic models that allow policymakers to analyze the impact of introducing either a nodal, a zonal, or a uniform pricing system on the three horns of the energy trilemma in their country. We evaluate our model using a simplified network representation of the Indonesian electricity sector. Our results indicate that each of the pricing systems is able to foster specific horns of the energy trilemma. Considering that any major reform intended to improve energy sustainability in Indonesia will only be a success if it also addresses energy security and energy equity, we also discuss our results from the perspective of energy justice and the need to balance the country’s energy trilemma. Ultimately, we illustrate a transformation pathway for a more sustainable and just transition to a low-carbon economy in Indonesia. [less ▲]

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See detailThe search for the perfect match: Aligning power-trading products to the energy transition
Fridgen, Gilbert UL; Michaelis, Anne; Rinck, Maximilian et al

in Energy Policy (2020), 144

Given the growing share of uncertain renewable energy production, the energy transition challenges modern power systems and especially calls for increased flexibility. However, relevant information on the ... [more ▼]

Given the growing share of uncertain renewable energy production, the energy transition challenges modern power systems and especially calls for increased flexibility. However, relevant information on the highly assetspecific flexibility potential is typically only known to plant operators themselves and not, e.g., to transmission system operators. Therefore, liberalized electricity markets use prices that set explicit monetary incentives to disclose the relevant private information about the market participants’ assets. In this way, information asymmetries may be reduced. Given the different challenges of an integration of renewables, we argue that the associated new forms of volatile power profiles require new forms of power-trading products. In particular, based on recent advances in technical power measurement and billing, individual and market participant-specific power profiles may be superior to the current trading of average volumes. Against this background, we first outline various evolutionary adjustments of existing power-trading products and their underlying product parameters including (1) strengthening local pricing, (2) finer temporal granularity, (3) smaller minimum volume, and (4) shorter gate-closure time. Second, we open up a new perspective in form of a more disruptive shift towards power-profile trade, where market participants define their trading product using the actual power profile as a new product parameter. [less ▲]

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See detailIndustrial demand-side flexibility: A key element of a just energy transition and industrial development
Heffron, Raphael; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Wagner, Jonathan et al

in Applied Energy (2020)

In many countries, industry is one of the largest consumers of electricity. Given the special importance of electricity for industry, a reliable electricity supply is a basic prerequisite for further ... [more ▼]

In many countries, industry is one of the largest consumers of electricity. Given the special importance of electricity for industry, a reliable electricity supply is a basic prerequisite for further industrial development and associated economic growth. As countries worldwide transition to a low-carbon economy (in particular, by the development of renewable energy sources), the increasing fluctuation in renewable energy production requires new flexibility options within the electricity system in order to guarantee security of supply. It is advanced in this paper that such a flexibility transition with an active participation of industry in general has unique potential: It will not only promote green industrial development, but also become an engine for inclusive industrial development and growth as well as delivering a just transition to a low-carbon economy. Given the high potential of industrial demand-side flexibility, a first monitoring approach for such a flexibility transition is illustrated, which bases on a flexibility index. Our flexibility index allows for an indication of mis-developments and supports an appropriate implementation of countermeasures together with relevant stakeholders. Hence, it holds various insights for both policy-makers and practice with respect to how industrial demand-side flexibility can ensure advances towards an inclusive, just, and sustainable industrial development. [less ▲]

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See detailThe insurance effect of renewable distributed energy resources against uncertain electricity price developments
Fridgen, Gilbert UL; Halbrügge, Stephanie; Olenberger, Christian et al

in Energy Economics (2020), 91

To combat climate change, many countries all around the world currently foster the development of renewable energy sources (RES). However, in contrast to traditional energy systems that relied on few ... [more ▼]

To combat climate change, many countries all around the world currently foster the development of renewable energy sources (RES). However, in contrast to traditional energy systems that relied on few central power plants, RES are typically highly decentral and spread all over a country. Against this backdrop, the promotion of a decentralization of the energy system by fostering a regional balance of energy demand and supply with a corresponding increase in energy democracy is seen as a promising approach. However, energy democracy driven by an increasing involvement of consumers requires adequate investments of consumers in their own local RES in order to become active players, usually called prosumers. Risk associated with uncertain long-term electricity price developments is generally seen as a barrier to investments. In contrast, we describe that an investment in distributed energy resources (DERs) may actually serve as a consumer's insurance against price risk. Our results set out that the consideration of risk-aversion may actually positively shift an investment decision in renewable DERs. This is due to the prosumer becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on uncertain price developments. To analyze such an insurance effect, we create a formal decision model considering the prosumer's risk-aversion and derive the prosumer's optimal investment in renewable DERs. However, our results also indicate that under some circumstances the insurance effect disappears: When a prosumer turns into a predominant producer, the prosumer is again exposed to risk in terms of uncertain revenues. Ultimately, our work highlights the importance of a consideration of the insurance effect when assessing an investment in renewable DERs. [less ▲]

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See detail(How) Can Blockchain Contribute to the Management of Systemic Risks in Global Supply Networks?
Fridgen, Gilbert UL; Körner, Marc-Fabian; Sedlmeir, Johannes et al

in 14. Internationale Tagung Wirtschaftsinformatik (2019)

Even though globalization has led to larger, faster, and more efficient supply chains, at the same time the new worldwide interconnection has also resulted in major challenges with respect to hidden ... [more ▼]

Even though globalization has led to larger, faster, and more efficient supply chains, at the same time the new worldwide interconnection has also resulted in major challenges with respect to hidden systemic risks. In particular, there is a lack of a holistic perspective on the entire supply network. This missing global view prohibits the anamnesis and management of underlying risks. Against this backdrop, in this paper we discuss the potential contributions of Blockchain technology to systemic risk management in global supply chains and networks. Given the increasing number of recent initiatives of businesses in the context of Blockchain, we argue that Blockchain technology can lower the hurdle for the use of secure multiparty computation. Ultimately, it may be possible to implement a corresponding monitoring mechanism for systemic risks without (i) the need of a central authority and (ii) revealing competition relevant, confidential information to other supply network participants. [less ▲]

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See detailIndustrielle Energieflexibilität im Energiesystem
Buhl, Hans Ulrich; Fridgen, Gilbert UL; Dufter, Christa et al

in Energieflexibilität in der deutschen Industrie : Ergebnisse aus dem Kopernikus-Projekt - Synchronisierte und energieadaptive Produktionstechnik zur flexiblen Ausrichtung von Industrieprozessen auf eine fluktuierende Energieversorgung (SynErgie) (2019)

Energy from renewable resources is not always readily available. Depending on the season and the weather, the power made available by solar parks or wind turbines varies, for example. Due to the ... [more ▼]

Energy from renewable resources is not always readily available. Depending on the season and the weather, the power made available by solar parks or wind turbines varies, for example. Due to the continuous expansion of renewable energies, the volatility in the energy system will become more and more pronounced in the future. Preparing and adapting the industry to the changing supply structures is a major challenge for the next few decades. In the future, companies must be able to design their processes and operational organization in such a way that energy consumption can at least partially adapt flexibly to the volatile energy supply. In addition to developing technologies, Concepts and measures to make industrial processes more energetic, a second focus of future work is the development of a consistent IT infrastructure with which companies and energy providers can provide and exchange information from the production machine to the energy markets in the future. This leads to a paradigm shift in the operation of industrial processes - away from continuous and purely demand-driven energy consumption towards the adaptable, energy-flexible operation of industrial plants. This reference work presents the most important results of the research in the context of the Kopernikus project Synergy and clarifies trend-setting findings for further developments in the still young field of industrial energy flexibility. [less ▲]

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