RWE Supply & Trading (RWE) and Outokumpu have put a new type of power generation and storage system into operation that will help to stabilise the power grid and enhance flexibility. It is located at the Outokumpu mill in Krefeld, Germany, and consists of a 3.3 MW battery storage unit coupled with three 1 MW gas turbines. The system is a joint project designed and built by RWE, and the company will also operate it remotely. To enable this to happen, Outokumpu has modified its roll stands. The two companies will share the results of the optimisation over a period of 10 years.
For energy-intensive production companies such as Outokumpu, electricity is a crucial cost factor. During peak times, when the roll stands in Krefeld are running at high utilisation, the Outokumpu mill has a particularly high demand for electricity. These load peaks put stress on the power grid as the grid operator has to intervene to ensure that the required electricity is available at short notice. Considering the increasing feed-ins of electricity from renewables, this presents challenges due to weather dependency, as the same amount of power is not available on the grid at all times. In addition, Outokumpu needs to purchase electricity at peak times and therefore at relatively high prices.
The new RWE system is now helping the Krefeld mill to reduce electricity costs – and it also takes pressure off the grid as the combination of batteries and gas-powered generators now supplies electricity during peak times. Interventions by the grid operator will not be required as frequently as before. To ensure that the combined system and the roll stands work effectively together, Outokumpu has, so to speak, ‘optimised them for the energy market’. Thus, the system can also be utilised in the flexibility market. This means that in times when too much or too little electricity from renewables is available on the electricity market, additional electricity can be fed in or production can be adjusted accordingly.
As Hendrik Niebaum, Head of Commodity Solutions at RWE, points out: “The increasing expansion of renewables poses new challenges on the power grid. Reconciling their increasing volatility with the industry’s demands is one of them. Our intelligent energy management solutions help to relieve the load on the grid as well as optimise flexibility and generate revenue for our customers at the same time. I am looking forward to realising this project together with our partner Outokumpu.”