How to unleash the potential of prosumer assets for peak-shaving? Voluntary or mandatory participation? Variable time of use – network tariffs or penalty network tariffs?

The prosumers´ portfolio of dispatchable appliances such as electric vehicles and heat pumps poses challenges to system operators, but can at the same time contribute to the security of supply by adapting their operation to solar and wind generation and grid load. How to unleash this potential? In Germany, the energy ministry is going for mandatory participation of prosumer assets in peak-shaving on the basis of a study by EY and BET. DSOs shall be entitled to shut down flexible consumers up to 1,5 hours per day. The proposal foresees new network tariffs, partly very high ones, especially when prosumers reject to give system operators access to their flexibilities. Prosumer associations today fought back with a study by Consentec that goes for a voluntary approach through time-variable tariffs instead: consumers pay different prices at different times which enables them to adapt their demand. It shall be up to them whether they do it on their own or via a third party. Mandatory participation in peak shaving shall be limited to acute grid congestion and possible black outs.

Interestingly #1, the government´s advisors EY already carried out the cost-benefit-analysis as the basis for the comprehensive mandatory smart meter-rollout in Germany. It seems that EY is a big fan of mandatory digitalisation.

Interestingly #2: Germany has recently rejected the concept of local flexibility markets as set by art 32 Internal Electricity Market Directive. So, Germany does not seem to be a big fan of market-based approaches. And it seems to be immune against the spirit of the Clean Energy Package, namely emancipated prosumers competing as equals on all energy markets.

The result of the lobby fight on network tariffs and prosumers´ access to the energy markets will heat up as the deadlines for the implementation of the Renewables and Internal Market directive are getting closer. To be continued …

Holger Schneidewindt

About Holger Schneidewindt

Holger Schneidewindt is an energy lawyer and policy advisor. He has a decade of experience in energy policy with particular interest and expertise in prosumer subjects, especially related to alternative and renewable energies. As consultant for a German energy consumer NGO, he worked on the “Birth and Rise of Prosumers” along Germany’s pioneering energy transition.

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