Engie Nextflex

Background

Established in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, ENGIE has over 200,000 employees operating in close to 70 countries on 5 continents. As a leading global energy player, ENGIE’s purpose is to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally friendly solutions.

Challenge

In 2009, France, as part of the European Union, committed to achieving 20% of its final energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020. Over the proceeding years, as renewables penetration increased, so too did the need for greater electricity grid flexibility to manage out intermittency. By managing a large portfolio of distributed energy resources, ENGIE was in a unique position to not only provide this much needed grid flexibility to the French transmission system operator, RTE, but also to enhance the value provided to its customers in the process.

As a well-established player in the energy industry, ENGIE already had its own systems, routes to market and relationship with RTE and in 2014 formally launched Nextflex – a new business venture that facilitates industrial and commercial businesses to provide flexibility at short notice. However, in order to scale up its operations, ENGIE required a greater level of automation. Integral to the solution would be that ENGIE could continue to make a profit in France’s low margin market.

Solution

Kiwi Power licensed its distributed energy platform Kiwi Core to ENGIE, inclding its bespoke, easy to install hardware solution – Kiwi Fruit – to provide the automation required, while keeping the cost of rollout low. Kiwi Core’s main function within Nextflex is to make it easy to view, aggregate, allocate, and dispatch ENGIE’s clients’ distributed energy resources to fulfil flexibility contracts awarded by RTE.  

The platform is able to enrol a variety of resources including batteries, electric vehicle infrastructure, gas peaking plants and combined heat and power plants as well as load. ENGIE is able to aggregate and – in times of system stress – automatically dispatch assets, and subsequently pays sites for the flexibility provided.

Results

Since Nextflex was launched in France in 2014, ENGIE has successfully rolled out versions of the platform to manage distributed energy resources across France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy. Nextflex currently manages hundreds of commercial and industrial sites aggregating in excess of 400MW in flexible distributed energy resources. The service allows commercial and industrial businesses across Europe to support the energy transition while gaining access to a new source of revenue.   

  • In France, ENGIE is using Kiwi Core to aggregate hundreds of sites and to access markets such as FRRm (Tertiary Frequency Control), Effacement as well as the Capacity Market
  • In Belgium, Kiwi Core manages a stacked portfolio with a battery and load/generation resources into R1 for ENGIE, as well as aggregating commercial and industrial load into R3. Flexibility was also monetised in the wholesale market at opportune moments
  • In the Netherlands, ENGIE uses Kiwi Core to provide grid flexibility to the system operator in the Primary Frequency Response market (FCR) by aggregating small mobile battery boxes of 600kW/660kWh each, as well as providing flexibility into the FRRm and aFRR (Secondary Frequency Control) programmes run by TenneT
  • In Italy, Kiwi Core is utilised to aggregate commercial and industrial assets into Terna’s UVAM programme with participation in R2 and Fast Reserve planned for the near future

As the energy transition progresses apace, ENGIE will continue to work with Kiwi Power to improve the value of its offering to businesses and system operators alike. As the energy system becomes ever more complex and distributed, ENGIE is committed to integrating emerging sources of flexibility including batteries and electric vehicle fleets along with finding new ways to unlock value by participating in innovative services for balancing, frequency and congestion management.