24.06.2021 | Intelligent power load management holds potential

Demand-side management becomes more important

The use of intelligent demand-side management is still under-exploited in Switzerland. This is the conclusion of a study conducted on behalf of the Federal Office of Energy. However, intelligent load control will play a more important role once the Swiss nuclear power plants that provide stable base load energy are shut down after an operating period of around 60 years. The study estimates the switch-off potential at about 530 to 870 megawatts (MW) and the potential for the connection of electricity consuming devices at about 590 MW to 960 MW.

Demand-side management (DSM) includes measures to optimise an energy efficient system, that are brought about directly or indirectly by third parties. Ripple control systems that energy supply companies use today to control electric storage heating, electric boilers or heat pumps are one example. They reduce peak loads and balance out load distribution. You can read where Axpo and CKW are active in the area of peak shaving here.

How high is the potential?

How high is the usable and actually used DSM potential in Switzerland? The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) commissioned a study (German only) to find out. The study estimated DSM potential based on the analyses of statistics and reports. The potential lies at about 530 to 870 megawatts (MW) for switching off and at about 590 to 960 MW for the connection of electricity consuming devices. For household customers, particularly during the day in winter, there is potential in the area of space heating systems. The industrial and service are also offers potential, primarily during the day, but it is more balanced over the seasons. As a comparison: Axpo (including CKW) has installed power plant capacities of about 9500 MW.

Demand-side management is still under-exploited

The demand for DSM in Switzerland is low today. The SFOE wants to change this with improved information and flexible grid usage tariffs. In addition, the SFOE hopes to improve flexibility marketing opportunities thanks to the planned, full liberalisation of the power market. Setting up a data infrastructure for DSM is part of the plan. With a view to the future, this is important when further potential flexibility providers, for example electro-mobility, come into play. The development of potential providers will then also be supported through expanded use of metres and control systems. More on the topic here:

The grid of the future is smart.

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