Network of home batteries forms sustainable backup for national power grid

Eneco, SolarEdge and Tesla are creating network consisting of several hundred Powerwalls


Home batteries will play an important role in balancing the national and international power grids. This is the starting point of CrowdNett, a new service that Eneco is offering as of today with the support of Tesla, SolarEdge and Swiss startup Ampard.

Maintaining a balance in the supply of and demand for power on the electricity grid around the clock is one of the main tasks of Dutch national grid operator TenneT. For a large part, supply and demand can be predicted. Nevertheless, substantial reserve capacity is required to cope with continuous fluctuations in the grid load. While, at present, TenneT and other European national grid operators purchase the required additional capacity mainly from gas and coal fired power plants, they are increasingly looking for flexible and sustainable alternatives.

Eneco believes that home batteries, which enable households to store the solar energy they have generated, shall play an important part in this process. By charging or discharging a network of batteries – a CrowdNett –at specific moments, these batteries can supply reserve capacity to the national power grid. Transfer of the compensation paid by the national grid operator for reserve capacity to home battery owners, makes the installation of a battery even more interesting. At the same time, less fossil fuelled electricity plants will be needed for backup purposes.

Dirk-Jan Middelkoop, Manager Innovation at Eneco: ‘We invest substantially in renewable energy, and, at the same time, work on developing smart solutions for when there is no wind or for unexpectedly sunny days. Home batteries already form a part of these solutions, but using these batteries for grid balancing purposes offers even more advantages. Grid operators will be able to replace backup capacity provided by physical power plants by capacity provided by a 'virtual power plant'. Home battery owners, on the other hand, will not only receive compensation, but will also contribute to increasing the sustainability of our energy supply. This results in the world's best and most sustainable business case for home batteries.’

Technical realisation
With respect to the technical realisation, Eneco collaborates with Tesla, with SolarEdge – global leader in solar energy inverters – and with the Swiss-based company Ampard. The latter two companies have been responsible for making technical adjustments to the solar inverters and integrating the software that is used to control the home batteries remotely. Last year, Ampard already succeeded in supplying reserve capacity to the grid operator in Switzerland by means of a network of home batteries.

The network consisting of Tesla's Powerwall home batteries will be created by Eneco during the coming months. For this purpose, the energy company is looking for households that are interested in purchasing an attractively priced home battery. The first step is to create a network of 400 batteries that will qualify as reserve capacity that will be used by TenneT.

Hannah Beljaars-Frederiks and her house in Rotterdam-Heijplaat. Hannah has solar panels and a home battery and is one of the first to join Eneco CrowdNett.