Photo: vorclub/

Photo: vorclub/

Analysing potential for rescheduling loads in the smart grid

Strategies for rescheduling loads in the grid – alongside network expansion, pioneering storage technologies and implementing new measuring, information and communication technologies – can help to ensure that our power supply facilities are secure and the system is efficient in future, too.

As part of the Loadshift project, experts of the Energy Institute at Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz identified the potential for rescheduling loads in Austria, and analysed the relevant economic, technical and legal aspects. The researchers differentiated the sectors households, industry, commerce and communal infrastructure, estimated the costs incurred with differing levels of potential exploitation, and derived cost curves for Austria.

Rescheduling loads in industry & commerce

In the literature the maximum technical potential for reducing load at the consumer end in Austria’s industry is estimated at 664 MW; this includes also the service sector and public administration.
(Source: Abschätzung des maximalen technischen Potenzials für verbraucherseitige Lastreduktion in Österreich, Gutschi and Stigler, 2008 (in German))

Starting from this assessment, the Loadshift project examined six different industrial and commercial sectors. Analysis revealed that firms in the cement industry, certain chemicals firms and the paper industry have the largest rescheduling potential. Here the cement industry does best costwise, at less than 100 Euro/MWh. The largest potential is in the paper industry, which is one of the biggest power consumers in production, at 4,614 GWh per annum. For the paper industry, taking the timber yard, processing waste paper and making wood pulp into account, the analysis assessed load rescheduling potential at roughly 215 to 265 MW, at a cost of around 200 Euro/MWh.

In the commercial sector refrigerating food and air-conditioning service buildings are candidates, since (thermal) storage facilities are on hand in both cases. There is significant potential here for load rescheduling with a duration of at most 60 minutes.

Potential in households & electric-powered vehicles

In households the largest load-scheduling potential is available in connection with space heating and supplying hot water. In general tying in instrumentation, information and communication technologies at the household level is seen as a prime mover for implementing smart grids. At the moment private electric vehicles play little part in Austria as regards load rescheduling; one of the inhibiting factors is that frequent charging and running down shortens accumulators‘ service life. With an increasing number of electric cars and a more developed accumulator technology, this sector might reach a size large enough to be relevant for load rescheduling.

Strategies for communities 

As part of the project the possibilities offered by plant and process engineering of rescheduling electrical loads in the field of community sewage disposal were investigated, and a case study was carried out in the Lower Austrian community of Großschönau to show how a local community can implement load rescheduling measures in practice. To date there is no visible economic incentive to invest in more load flexibility for sewage treatment plants and water supply systems. It might be of interest to take advantage of the degree of flexibility detected when new business models, such as pooling several communities’ facilities, start to play a part. 

(in German)

Dr. Andrea Kollmann,  Foto: privat
Andrea Kollmann, Photo: private

„The twin projects Loadshift and Flex-Tarif have made it clear that in tomorrow‘s energy system there will be no “one size fits all” solution. Different groups of customers in industry, commerce and households have individual wishes, demands and goals. In the years to come the challenge will be to achieve a clearer grasp of how to cope with this individuality while ensuring that the supply of energy stays reliable and efficient.“

Andrea Kollmann

Project manager,  Department of Energy Supply and Use,
Energy Institute at Johannes Kepler University Linz