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Navigating the Shift: 15-Minute Energy Market Balancing in the European Nordics

In the ever-evolving landscape of energy markets, significant shifts are often necessary to keep pace with technological advancements and the increasing share of renewable energy sources. Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway are gearing up for a much-anticipated change – the transition from 60-minute to 15-minute energy market rebalancing, slated for Q1 2025. This move signifies a commitment to a more dynamic and responsive energy market, especially crucial in managing the challenges posed by the renewable energy mix. As hydropower operators explore the opportunities of this transition, we take a closer look at the implications and the available solutions and share our insight from market players already adopting this granularity.

Why this change? The significance of this shift and its implications for the industry

The move to 15-minute balancing intervals is more than just a temporal adjustment. It introduces a more adaptive system capable of handling the fluctuations brought to the energy market by emerging renewable energy sources. This shift aims to release the strain on grid balancing, by addressing the observed challenge of high energy influx in the first half of the hour followed by a low in the second. Hydropower operators, as key players in this transformation, can help support the grid by accurately predicting their production in ever smaller increments, which will lead to smaller fluctuations between the highs and lows.

Challenges Faced by Hydropower Operators

The digitalisation imperative

With even less time available, every second saved becomes four times more critical. Operators are now looking at tasks that can be automated or simplified, to make sure that quarter-hourly bidding doesn’t translate to a quadrupling of tasks and processes.

Workflow redesign & reconfiguration

Existing operational systems must be amplified to handle four times more tasks within the same timeframe. Some processes will be strained, others will be proven entirely obsolete. Workflows built integrating Excel are especially vulnerable.

Production strategy adjusted to hydropower-related hardware

Operators will have to explore how the limitations of their plant turbines, servers, telemetry sensors etc., as well as environmental constraints, can align best with this market shift. Adding new complexity to the already straining hydropower optimization process can reduce operational flexibility even further.

The upcoming switch will lead to increased imbalance costs for most operators making no changes to their operations planning, whereas adopting the change can open new market opportunities, and increases competitiveness.

How can HYDROGRID help you with this?

Enter HYDROGRID, a hydropower optimization software solution provider which already comes with the ability to operate on any power market timing – hourly, half-hourly, fifteen minutes or even smaller – ‘out of the box’. We are well-equipped to facilitate the switch for any hydropower plant, regardless of technology equipped or optimization needs. In addition to fully customizable granularity of inputs, our algorithms use your available resources and data to deliver increased revenue, saved operational time, and effective management of environmental constraints.

HYDROGRID’s technology addresses the challenges faced by hydropower operators through advanced API connections and tailored granularity of data formats. This is how we already today support our partner in the UK, Scottish and Southern Electric (Link) with managing their optimization in the UK power market, which has been operating in 30-minute granularity already for years.

Are you ready for 15-minute balancing?

The impending shift in the energy market balancing system demands proactive measures from hydropower operators. Being prepared for these adjustments is not only a strategic move but a necessity. The role of digitalization solutions becomes paramount in navigating this evolving energy landscape effectively. Explore HYDROGRID’s services for a seamless transition to 15-minute balancing, amongst other benefits & services. For further information, reach out to Liana and he will answer any questions you might have.

You can reach Liana at liana.haugan@hydrogrid.eu.

As the energy market gears up for a transformative change, embracing digital solutions is not just an option but a crucial step towards a sustainable and resilient future.

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