What is the Demand side? What are the benefits of a service such as DSM? How does Mjolnir Energy fit into the equation? Head down below to read the details of how we plan to operate and bring energy efficiency to our customers.
From the point of view of the Transmission System Operator (TSO), the grid is essentially split into two realms: the line side and the load side. The goal of the TSO is to maintain a balance between the power generated and power consumed during all moments. Now technically speaking, power generation doesn't occur on the line side per se, but for the purposes of our description we will treat it as such; in other words, the line side will correspond to the amount of Generation available on the system while the load side will correspond to the amount of Demand during a given time. We talk about this in our Ancillary Services page in more detail if you'd like to visit that first.
For most of the existence of the power network, the way this balance between generation and consumption was achieved was by adding additional power plants or limiting their output. In other words, the Demand Side was not something that operators had much control over. However, as technology has advanced and the Internet of Things (IoT) has become more and more prevalent, intelligent control over the amount of power consumed is becoming a possibility. In short, by changing when electricity consuming devices (loads) charge, the utility operator is able to play with both sides of the balancing equation rather than just the generating side. This is a very important point, as with the increase of Renewable Energies which can't be fully controlled, TSOs need new tools for ensuring electrical power balance.
The Demand Side is becoming an increasingly important topic of discussion when it comes to power balance, as many new loads are coming online due to the electrification of the transportation and industrial sector. The increased demand that will be brought about by Electric Vehicles, for example, is a non-negligible amount that needs to be planned for. Already, measures in grid infrastructure reinforcement, additional power reserves, and tariffs and subsidies are being implemented to try to prepare for the upcoming grid challenges, but this is not nearly enough. This is where Demand Side Management --- and Mjolnir Energy --- fits into the picture.
But that's basically it! The Demand side is just a delineation that distinguishes between consumers of electricity and the available power on the network, and is one half of the balancing equation.
So we've established that the TSO has to maintain balance, and that new technology is allowing them to manipulate the Load Side of the balancing equation. But what exactly is Demand Side Management? DSM, for short, is a blanket term that describes multiple services that change the power demand of loads during certain intervals of time. You may notice this sounds very similar to our definition for Ancillary Services, and that's because these two definitions follow the same basic premise, albeit on different sides of the balancing equation. DSM includes services such as peak shaving and peak shifting, energy arbitrage, and more. In summary, DSM gives additional flexibility to the system operators when trying to balance their network.
Mjolnir Energy is --- as envisioned --- technically a Demand Side Management provider, as we aim to change the consumption patterns of large facilities via our batteries and connected EVs; since this is all installed behind the customer's meter, we are on the load side and hence provide DSM instead of true ancillary support. But let's be clear: the net effect as far as the TSO is concerned is exactly the same. Lowering Demand by X amount is the same as increasing Generation by X, and that's exactly what we do! Now the difference, of course, is that the facility itself also saves money during this time, as we changed their demand patterns to avoid or reduce the demand tariff they had to pay.
Let's walk through an example together. Let's say a facility consumes 5 MW of power throughout the day and has a Mjolnir Energy system of 1 MW installed. At some point in time, the TSO realizes that there is too much Demand for the given Generation, electricity prices increase, and the TSO activates its providers of power reserves to increase power output by 1 MW. That would certainly solve the issue, but there is another way: if Mjolnir Energy starts to provide 1MW of power to the facility, from the point of view of the TSO, Demand just dropped by 1 MW and is now equal to the power being generated. It's all the same, just a matter of perspective! Check out our handy animation below to see what we mean:
Well, because our batteries and chargers would be installed downstream (behind) the facility's meter, we are technically a form of Demand Side Management (DSM). We say that we provide Ancillary Services because traditionally Reserve capacity and participation in the Frequency Containment Market was done by large generators, such as hydro power plants --- but let us be clear: although we are a form of DSM, by aggregating our services together, over time our benefits can have the same net effect for Utility Operators as large sources of Reserve capacity.
That's a great question! We believe that our business is able to help more than just the Utility Operator. By installing our platform on the Demand Side of a facility's switchgear, we are able to reduce or eliminate their power tariffs while having the same net effect on the stability of the grid. This is where our proprietary algorithm comes into effect, which allows us to balance the needs of the utility and the facility --- although these will coincide many times! For example, electricity prices tend to be highest when demand is highest, so you get the idea. By entering into a contract with the facility and charging a steady bill based on our services, much like solar photovoltaics do through a Power Purchase Agreement, we can eliminate uncertainty and save them money throughout the year. Of course we benefit as well, as we avoid the costly installment of transformers, switchgear, and other BOS equipment.
Batteries are a great form of storage, especially for the kind of services we aim to provide --- but they are expensive. Bi-directional chargers don't come very cheap either. Of course, the cost of these two products are dropping rapidly, but did you know that most large facilities within the European Union will have to have EV chargers installed in 20% of their parking spots by 2025? That is a non-negligible amount of money. Enter Mjolnir Energy! We offer to pay the upfront capital expenditure and replace that with a steady, manageable bill spread out over the lifetime of the project. Did we mention we help reduce the electric bills as well? So the facility avoids a large investment and saves additional money throughout. We think that's a pretty good deal!
This is a fundamental question, but basically it comes down to this: By using EVs as aggregate capacity, we are able to increase our aggregate capacity without the need to pay for very expensive batteries; that simply keeps our costs down and our venture competitive. However, it also allows our value to the Utility Operator to increase --- by converting EVs from loads to sources and vice versa, we essentially double our flexibility capacity: ie. If we have 1MW of EVs charging and acting as a load (-1MW), and we suddenly start discharging them and using them as generators (+1MW), the net effect from the operators point of view is 2MW of difference.
We incentivize EV users by providing free charging for them. It's as simple as that: the more someone uses our charging stations throughout the year, the more money they'll save. And they won't have to worry about their batteries degrading either: Mjolnir Energy's use of EV batteries is significantly less taxing than a regular drive, and we take extra care to use them only when really necessary. Additionally, we offer a battery buy-back program at the end of life of your EV, so you can rest assured you're getting your money's worth from our service.
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