Virtual power station

The Amper Market commercial virtual power station

Electricity direct from the source

The corporate slogan of Amper Market concisely expresses the main intention behind its commercial activities – the provision of electricity from decentralised, primarily renewable, sources on the electricity market, resulting in low, sustainable electricity prices for end customers. This new commercial opportunity came into being as a result of recent developments in the production, distribution and trade in electricity immediately following the functional separation of these activities, known as ‘unbundling’. While the trade in electricity became intensely competitive, the distribution and transfer of electricity remained the subject of a natural monopoly. In the field of production, the hitherto more-or-less monopolised environment of large coal and nuclear power stations was supplemented by a number of decentralised, renewable sources, created primarily due to public-sector support. This gave rise, within a short period of time, to a production segment perceived by some major entities in the field of distribution as a burden, and by some conventional producers as a source of competition.

The new, decentralised sources, whose performance is often – due to the nature of their technology – changeable, place entirely new demands on the transfer and distribution grid, which was built for the one-way transfer and distribution of electricity from a limited number of sources to the end customer. Amper Market sees the partial elimination of this discrepancy through the application of modern technical and software tools as one of the primary challenges in the energy sector, and to a resolution of which it wishes to contribute.

The Amper Market commercial virtual power station

Successful trading in electricity from renewable sources depends, to a considerable extent, on the ability to manage and, if required, supplement the fluctuating output of renewable sources from both a day-to-day and long-term perspective. One tool for the management of such a portfolio from the point of view of the purchase of electricity is a set of managing components and software – the commercial virtual power station. The basic functions of the commercial virtual power station are, primarily:

  • Gathering of data on the operation of in-house and contracted sources and their documentation in a central database,
  • Prediction of the effect of weather and other factors on the operation of and availability of electricity from renewable sources
  • Management of these sources,
  • Optimisation of the range of regulation of source output and its combination with effective purchasing with the aim of achieving the lowest price for AM customers,
  • Management of deviations in portfolio (subject of billing with market Operator)
  • Provision of technological data to contracted producers,

A commercial virtual power station is the first step towards the vision of supply and demand for electricity are evaluated and managed ‘online’ from a single centre, with the sole deviation of the commercial version of the virtual power station being that, here, supply and demand is even in time, but not in space. Even then, such activity can make a major contribution to the evening-out of system deviations and the lowering of costs for regulatory services, as the electricity market is governed by impulses of the operator of the transfer grid, who is responsible for the even balance of the Czech electricity grid.

At which phase is our project?

In the first two years of its existence, Amper Market laid the foundations for this project by, on the one hand, building a portfolio of end customers, primarily wholesale customers, to a volume of c. 1 billion CZK of annual sales for combined electricity provision, while on the other hand the portfolio of producers (cogenerating units, biogas stations, windmills, photovoltaic power stations) generate more than 50% of electricity for Amper Market customers. Our virtual power station project is currently at the phase of completion of the system for the online monitoring of sources and a pilot project for the regulation of an electricity production plant has been successfully carried out. The next step will be the increase in the number of commercial cases in which it pays the operator of a plant, just as much as the operator of the virtual power station, to connect their production source to the virtual power station, submitting it to central optimisation and regulation, purely on the basis of market impulses.

The virtual power station is motivated by our effort to make a modest, but realistic and progressive, contribution to the integration of renewable sources into the Czech energy grid and it is precisely the trade in electricity that we consider to be the most suitable platform for first finding the true market price of electricity from individual sources, and then the most economical means of applying them to the Czech electricity grid. A decentralised energy system and the optimisation and regulation of the production and consumption of electricity, down to the level of the smallest producers and consumers: this is the energy of the future, as we see it at Amper.

Customer section