SOL creates and optimises the value of its flexible power year round
The Italian industrial gas producer SOL is partnering with REstore, the leading aggregator in the EU, to optimise the value of the flexibility of its Feluy plant all year round. The company showed its traditional innovative spirit by participating in Elia’s most recent reserve programmes: creating economic growth while minimising its environmental impact.
SOL is an Italian multinational group active in the production of technical gases (pure, medical and industrial gases) and highly specialised services for the use of medicinal oxygen at home. The 6th largest technical gas producer in Europe, it operates more than 90 plants in Europe, Morocco, Turkey and India, employing around 2 900 people in 26 countries and serving more than 50 000 industrial clients and 280 000 patients. The industrial gas sector is one of the most energy intensive. Since 2002 the Group had decided to invest in renewable hydroelectric energy production to support its own sustainable development model. Currently the company owns and operates 11 hydroelectric power plants in Slovenia, Albania and Macedonia with an overall installed power of more than 25 MW.
“REstore demonstrated how we can optimise the value of our flexibility at Feluy without increasing risk”Mauro Zappulli, Plant Manager SOL SpA Feluy
The SOL group has always been active in Demand Response. In the case of major imbalances on the grid Italy cannot rely on its limited interconnections with neighbouring countries. As a result, industrial consumers have to demonstrate flexibility and adapt their demand during power shortages. In Belgium SOL has operated an air-separation unit (ASU) at Feluy since 1998 and had participated in Elia’s conventional interruptible supply reserve. However this had proved operationally difficult as SOL had been obliged to completely switch off the plant often without notice without any control over what equipment was affected and with no possibility to disregard curtailment requests. REstore showed that the two compressors and a nitrogen liquefier at Feluy are ideal units for flexibility consuming substantial amounts of power and able to be easily switched off in a few minutes. Equipped with large storage upstream and downstream, they can be curtailed without significant impact on gas production and deliveries.
REstore sparked the plant management’s attention when it introduced them to the new Tertiary Reserve programme launched in 2011 by Elia, Belgium’s Transmission System Operator. This provided more time to react (15 minutes to deliver the curtailment instead of 3) and REstore would only curtail the flexible processes of the plant - not the whole plant. And SOL had control rather than Elia. However, it also imposed a mandatory power reduction level to which SOL couldn’t commit by itself. But within a pool composed of other industrial consumers, SOL could be shielded from unavoidable periods of unavailability such as when its compressors are undergoing major maintenance or the liquefier is not running. This principle of aggregation came as a logical step for SOL to maximise the value of its flexibility without taking on more risk. A subsequent move for the company to participate in the Strategic Reserve also came as a natural, logical step.
for SOL include
REstore's portfolio supports the industrial consumer and the industrial consumer supports the portfolio: if a site cannot deliver, another member of the pool will.
No administrative burden
REstore takes away the administrative burden of yearly and monthly auctions, contracts and settlements.
Demand Response facilitates the further development of renewable energy. It lowers industry's carbon footprint. It helps to curb global climate change.