Extremely high electricity prices allowed smart companies to earn extra money instead

Extremely high exchange prices of electricity have received a lot of public attention in recent days, exceeding 1,000 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) at times. Surprisingly, there were some companies who reaped the benefits of these high prices. Such as Infotark AS that is known to the public under the brand “Büroomaailm”.

While the electricity market and exchange prices have become an integral part of everyday vocabulary in the last week, the regulatory market managed by Elering is much less well known. Prices in that market have been even higher in recent days, reaching 1,800 euros per MWh at times.

With the regulatory market, Elering maintains the balance in the power network and is ready to pay if an electricity consumer is willing to switch off some of its electrical equipment at short notice or an electricity producer is willing to supply more electricity to the grid. As a rule, the amount of income depends on the price difference between regulatory market prices and power exchange prices. While historically the difference between the power exchange price and the regulatory market price has been 35-40 euros, now it is even 30 times higher in some hours.

Prices on 6–8 December 2021

Businesses that use flexible energy management services can reap the benefits of this price difference. For example, for the switch-off of a 100 kW device on 7 December between 00-06, the owner of the device could have earned 50 euros per hour.

One of those companies was Infotark AS (Büroomaailm), whose store and warehouse building on Peterburi tee, Tallinn is heated by a 400 kW electric boiler. The thermal inertia of the amount of water in the heating system is large enough, so that switching off the boiler for an hour or several does not significantly influence the room temperature.

On 7 December, the boiler was operating at 150-200 kW. Due to the lack of electricity in the grid at night and in the early morning, prices in the regulatory market rose to EUR 1,200. The boiler was switched off at night between 01:04 and 05:00. The water temperature dropped significantly during that time, but in the following hour the heater was operating at a higher power and the water temperature was restored to normal. Infotark saved 24% of the electricity consumption of the boiler in four hours that day and did not have to do anything for it. The work required to achieve savings for the customer was done by Eesti Energia’s Virtual Power Plant.

Depending on the device and the company’s profile, the benefits of flexible energy management can reach up to 15 percent of energy costs. By having the right equipment, every business can access the regulatory market by joining flexible energy management services, have a good opportunity to reduce electricity costs in these difficult times, contribute to the balance of the grid as well as save nature by emitting less CO2.

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