Demand-oriented Trading – Flexibility Is the Trump Card

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Utilise and profit from plant flexibility

By the time the 2017 revisions to Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act were brought in – if not before – it was evident that only flexible plants have a promising future. As such, subsidies for making existing plants flexible will continue to be available through the flexibility premium. Meanwhile, plant operators will have the option in the future to apply for a ten-year extension to the duration of their subsidies (follow-up funding). 

The additional revenues that biogas plants can generate on the balancing energy market are still of interest. Nevertheless, for plants that have been made flexible, scheduling operations in order to optimise electricity prices is a significantly more lucrative and more sustainable business model. Furthermore, this business model is compatible with balancing energy trading – in fact, this can be a profitable combination. The flexibility premium for existing biogas plants and the flexibility top-up for new biogas plants also incentivises the construction of additional capacity in the form of larger gas storage facilities and gas engines. 

Demand-oriented trading

Schedule Partner and Schedule Partner Plus – full flexibility, shared revenues

As the operator of a bioenergy plant, you have the opportunity to generate revenues that exceed the market value by delaying power generation until electricity prices are higher. With our Schedule Partner and Schedule Partner Plus services, we create customised trading schedules for any flexible biogas plant. We use our own modelling and optimisation software, 5/1, to develop these schedules. These trading schedules always take into account the current price trend and the technical and operational restrictions of the plant in question. 

As a general rule, the greater the operational flexibility of the plant, the higher the revenue obtained on the market for the power it generates. With the option premium, plant operators also receive a fixed annual sum for the flexibility that their biogas plant provides – in addition to the tariff for the electricity from the direct marketing agreement. 

Schedule Partner, for trading the flexibility of plants at times when electricity prices are high – our services:

  • Modelling the specific plant using our optimisation software, 5/1, taking into account plant-specific parameters and restrictions (e.g. gas storage facility, heat utilisation)
  • Cross-market revenue optimisation on the spot market (day-ahead and intraday) and the balancing energy markets 
  • Daily (and intraday for Schedule Partner Plus) creation and synchronisation of automated, customised schedules 
  • Handling the schedule management and provision of balancing energy via remote control and monitoring of the plants, which takes place through our Trading & Operations Cockpit
  • Management of the balancing group 
  • Monthly marketing report and transparent invoicing, without any hidden costs or reductions in remuneration
  • Overseeing the qualification process for the flexibility premium 
  • Provision of an online portal for managing plant availability

We have developed Schedule Partner Plus as an extension of our Schedule Partner product. With this service, the plant operator allows us to make changes to the schedule that was agreed the previous day at short notice – if the relevant price signals on the short-term (intraday) market indicate that such changes would generate additional revenue.

By having the option of adapting the schedule at any time in order to exploit the price movements on the short-term markets, the way the plant’s services are traded is always optimised, which enables us to maximise revenues. Of course, we agree all of the important parameters with the operator in advance – from the frequency of starts and stops to the minimum operating duration and fill level – and we ensure that they are adhered to. We use the balancing energy set to continuously collect data in real time – about aspects such as the current fill level of the gas storage facility – and we take this data into account when optimising the schedule.

Option premium – full flexibility, fixed revenues

With the option premium, plant operators receive a fixed sum (€/year) for the flexibility that your biogas plants provide – in addition to the tariff for the electricity from the direct marketing agreement. Furthermore, we assume all the risk associated with trading performance and fluctuations in market prices. 

In return, we retain the option of making comprehensive use of the flexibility of the plants at short notice, on any relevant markets – including the day-ahead, intraday and balancing energy markets – as well as for internal balancing at very short notice. 

Our aim is to capitalise on the flexibility that has been made available so as to optimise revenues on the various markets. Of course, as we do so, we always take into account all plant-specific restrictions. This means moving between different markets many times in one day. As we utilise plants in this way, we ensure that all of the technical and operational restrictions are adhered to – such as restrictions in relation to the heat supply that is provided by the plant.

    Jan Sagefka
    Key Account Manager
    BayWa r.e. Clean Energy Sourcing GmbH
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