Bypassing net congestion with smart energy systems


The pressure on electricity networks is increasing and that's being felt by a growing number of industries. The leading cause is the increased generation of energy from renewable sources, for example with solar panels and wind turbines. This puts many companies up with a challenge: they want to grow but are limited in their opportunities by a crowded electricity network.

Sortiva, the waste management company with various locations in Noord-Holland, was facing this challenge, too. Their site in Alkmaar could not expand its operations due to an overly crowded electricity network in the region. This phenomenon is called net congestion. In search of a solution, the company came across smart energy storage in combination with an energy management system as a promising alternative. This resulted in a smart local network.

Reaching the limits of the network

Sortiva's core activities are sorting, recycling, processing, skipping, and composting various waste streams. And all these processes require a large amount of energy. Although Sortiva is generating a large part of the energy needed, they were confronted with the limits of the electricity grid nonetheless.

In Alkmaar, Sortiva has two wind turbines and its own solar park with 8000 solar panels, which enables a near-off-grid operation of the site. But when the wind is not blowing and generation from solar is limited, they need to rely on the grid for electricity. And since electricity supplied by the grid is insufficient, they regularly have to shut down machines, which puts important processes to a standstill.

The search for alternatives

While exploring different options, in collaboration with electricity-expert Kenter they quickly landed on storing energy with batteries. Sortiva first looked at operating this in-house, but quickly realized that expert support in this would lead to better results. To deploy an energy storage system as efficiently as possible, each component of the battery container must be optimally programmed and the system needs to be seamlessly integrated into the existing infrastructure.

An efficient energy storage system delivers a host of benefits to its customers. Our batteries can shave off peaks in electricity demand and prevent congestion. This balances electricity consumption and avoids high prices during peak hours. And in times of surplus energy generation, users can deliver electricity to the grid with our battery systems, earning compensation through trading platforms.

Optimizing energy flows

Two battery systems jointly supply 1MWH of electricity to meet the company's energy demands. To minimize costs and utilize as much of on-site generated green energy as possible, all energy flows can be controlled and managed through the grid control platform. This also enables the anticipation of peaks and troughs, improves energy security, and positively impacts net congestion.

Utilizing smart energy storage solutions is just one of the many steps that Sortiva is taking to realize a more sustainable operation. The company has already set its eyes on a local energy hub as a potential future project. Through small-scale, local collaborations, energy can be used more efficiently which in turn reduces net congestion problems.


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