With Equigy, Swissgrid has launched an innovative new platform in Switzerland, which on the one hand promotes the implementation of the Swiss Confederation’s Energy Strategy 2050 and, on the other, helps to stabilise the transmission grid. Thanks to blockchain technology, Equigy enables the use of small, decentralised units – such as domestic battery storage, photovoltaic systems, small-scale hydropower systems, heat pumping technology and even electric cars – to stabilise the grid.
The grid has to be stabilised when electricity generation and consumption are out of balance. If the standard frequency of 50 Hertz rises or drops, Swissgrid must balance it out with control power. Thanks to Equigy, the owners of small production and storage units can contribute in the future to grid stability and thus support the Energy Strategy. They will be appropriately reimbursed for the power they provide.
How does Equigy work and why is Swissgrid launching this platform? The most important questions are answered below.
What is Equigy exactly?
Equigy is a crowd balancing platform. It allows the integration of a large number of small, fragmented and consumer-based units in the control energy market by harnessing blockchain technology. The units can be domestic battery storage, photovoltaic systems, small-scale hydropower systems, heat pumping technology or even an electric car battery. If necessary, this energy can be called upon to stabilise the grid. The platform becomes interesting when many such small, decentralised units are attached to it.
Equigy sets a new standard in Europe. Swissgrid isn’t setting up the platform on its own; rather, it’s part of a consortium with the transmission system operators TenneT (the Netherlands and Germany) and Terna (Italy). The platform is being launched in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
How exactly can an owner of a photovoltaic system with storage take part in the crowd balancing platform?
Owners of such small units can offer their surplus electricity to the transmission system operators with the help of third parties, known as aggregators. Blockchain technology allows a large number of such micro transactions to be carried out securely. In this way, everyone can contribute to the implementation of the Swiss Confederation’s Energy Strategy 2050 and grid stability. The power that is made available will of course be paid for.
Why is such a platform needed?
The central drivers are the implementation of the Energy Strategy and the changes on the supply and demand side that this entails. The expansion of renewable energy leads to decentralisation and higher volatility of electricity generation. The propagation of electric cars, heat pumping technology and other devices will increase demand for electricity while changing the typical daily patterns of electricity consumption. The crowd balancing platform will provide for more flexibility when retrieving control power, thus supporting the energy transition.
What exactly will happen in Switzerland now?
Swissgrid will test the technology in a pilot project in Switzerland. A consortium was formed with TenneT and Terna for this purpose. TenneT has already implemented a corresponding pilot project. Swissgrid is currently in discussion with potential partners. The project has attracted a lot of interest in Switzerland. The pilot project will run until the end of 2020.
Why is Swissgrid as a transmission system operator launching such a project at all?
As the transmission system operator, Swissgrid has a neutral role and can operate free of commercial interests. Equigy also serves to expand the control energy market. Thus, transmission system operators are the right initiators for this platform. With its participation in the consortium, Swissgrid is also continuing its long-standing tradition of developing innovative and ambitious approaches in the field of control energy markets and cross-border cooperation with partners.