The IndustRE project aims to use the flexibility potential in energy-intensive industries to facilitate further grid integration of variable renewable energy sources.
For many years, the way European industries have
consumed energy has been shaped by the traditional
working day. This old, rigid model does not take into
account when renewable energy is generated and how this
affects the market prices. But if industry was to become
more flexible about when it consumes electricity, it could
adapt to wind and solar generation patterns and benefit
from lower market prices.
With this in mind, the IndustRE project has been exploring
how the flexibility potential of energy-intensive industries
across Europe could help them save money, while
supporting the efficient integration of more variable
renewable energy into the European power system.
PROJECT SCOPE, ACTIVITIES AND TIMEFRAME
The project activities are relevant for all industries in Europe,
especially the chemicals, non-ferrous metals, cold storage,
steel, and water treatment sectors. These five sectors
with 302 TWh/year represent about 10% of the electricity
consumption in Europe.
The project work is applicable to all European countries,
with particular attention being given to Belgium, France,
Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. These countries
have traditionally had important industrial production
and together they represent more than 65% of the EU
population and almost 80% of all the installed wind and
PV capacity. These figures allow a balance to be achieved
between a manageable effort of working with six target
countries and still having an important impact on a
The project has two aims within two timeframes. The first
is to offer practical tools for immediate impact, and the
second is to quantify the longer term potential following
the implementation of policy recommendations. Five case
studies have also been analysed, covering five countries and
four industry sectors.
NEW BUSINESS MODELS
Over the last three years, the IndustRE team has developed a range of new business models which:
- Create win-win situations for the involved parties
- Support the further deployment of variable renewable energy without dependence on support schemes
- Bring benefits for the power system and the environment
- Can be applied in the current market and regulatory framework of the target countries
WHAT BENEFITS ARE POSSIBLE?
Energy intensive industries can make important savings by
becoming more flexible in the way they use their electricity,
leading to a 3% to 10% reduction in their electricity bill.
Advanced modelling shows that flexible industrial
demand could deliver significant savings for the
European power system. If 20% of industrial electricity
demand was flexible, up to 2.5 billion euros per year
could be saved in an EU power system with 60%
KEY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Naturally, changes need to be made to the market
design and policy framework to deliver all the
benefits industrial flexibility has to offer. There is still
a lot of work to do in every single country to bring
all the benefits possible from flexible industrial
demand, especially as current market and regulatory
arrangements do not capture this complexity
sufficiently. Key policy recommendations include:
- Giving large consumers access to wholesale electricity markets
- Opening up reserve capacity and balancing markets to demand
- Ensuring that variable renewable energy generators bear imbalance responsibility
- Harmonizing flexibility mechanisms across the EU
- Abandoning net-metering policies and allowing self-consumption on-site.
HOW CAN YOUR COMPANY BENEFIT?
Even in the current framework, industrial electricity
users can save on their electricity bills by using the
IndustRE methodology and results. A new tool has
been developed – ProFlex – which can quantify how
much flexibility they have does an industrial user have
and what is that worth. All IndustRE results are
available to download on the website www.industRE.eu,
where you can also find out how the project can
benefit your company.