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Viessmann and TenneT explore smart use of heat and electricity

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Viessmann and TenneT will jointly test how to utilize the potential flexibility of heat pumps for congestion management in the electricity grid.

The aim is to combine heat pumps and electricity storage to form a virtual power plant. At the same time, the customers will be able to save significantly on electricity costs if they participate in the pilot project.

Heat pumps are optimized via the communication channel developed by Viessmann. Customers already use this via their ViCare app to achieve maximum comfort and efficiency for their home energy system.

The heat pump’s schedule is synchronized with TenneT’s requirements and, when possible, its operation is shifted to times when the feed-in of renewable electricity would have to be reduced, for example by shutting down wind turbines, due to congestion in the electricity grid (so-called congestion management). By instead allowing heat pumps bundled in virtual power plants to take up electricity, these relieve the load on the electricity grid and thus ensure that renewable electricity does not have to be “thrown away”.

The prerequisite is that customers take out an electricity tariff in the ViShare Energy Community via the contractual partner Digital Energy Solutions, a subsidiary of Viessmann. This means that all components remain in one hand, which increases reliability for customers. The participants’ heat pumps are optimized in such a way that a premium is provided to TenneT for congestion management without any loss of comfort.

Viessmann heat pumps use technology that can be operated with 100 percent renewable electricity and is able, with smart control, to respond flexibly to the demands of the electricity grid. For example, the heat pump can operate and fill the heat storage tank exactly when there is a lot of solar power coming from the roof or when the wind is blowing strongly in Germany so a lot of wind power is available in the grid. This stabilizes the electricity grid and replaces the use of fossil power plants.

The provision of system services (balancing power and congestion management) from millions of individual small plants requires a new approach to automated control and integration into the processes of transmission system operators, as well as major efforts on the part of equipment manufacturers.

TenneT, together with a number of European transmission system operators, has developed a transnational blockchain-based data platform – the Equigy Crowd Balancing Platform. This platform will make it easier for millions of households in Germany and Europe to offer the flexibility of their plants to the system service markets via electricity suppliers and manufacturers.

The Equigy platform enables the automated integration and control of these systems in the processes of the network operators and market participants.

Anela Dokso

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