Energy transition: challenges and solutions

The energy market is in transition. More renewables, increasing demand for electricity and the rise of electric vehicles are putting incredible pressure on the grid. New players enter the market and current ones need to adapt. All these factors create a technically complex discussion on both a national and international level.

USEF (Universal Smart Energy Framework) Foundation launched a serious game to increase understanding of the new market dynamics and facilitate a broader dialogue. The interactive documentary covers three major dilemmas for setting up an effective energy market:

    1. Flexibility versus grid reinforcement
    2. The admission of one or more aggregators
    3. The degree of regulation of the market


What decisions would you make for a future proof energy market?



Finalist of The Challenge Engineering 2018

In The Challenge Engineering 2018, our colleague Alex Trijselaar, Product Manager, presented Energy21’s industrial solution as the best innovative solution to fight climate change.

After an exciting selection procedure, Alex was nominated as one of the final three to present the best solution for the climate case originated by KIVI. He presented Energy21’s industrial solution that focuses on digitalizing the energy processes of larger industrial sites.

Alex commented: “It was an honor to present our solution in the finals to a professional jury and an audience with Marjan van Loon representing Shell to create more awareness around this topic. This is an often overlooked solution, while some parties started implementation as early as 2015 and the results are very promising.”

Diederik Samsom, one of the jury members, said: “For sure the best contributor to CO2 reduction if you will work with the big twelve in Dutch industry.”

You can review his introduction here, or review the final pitch on Youtube (in Dutch).

Would you like to hear more?

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your planning challenges. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your energy processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution Strategies

Utility planning for industrial energy users

The concept of industrial symbiosis is that various industrial processes benefit from each other’s presence. Key in being able to make waste streams useful is a clever utility planning. Or as we like to state: waste + plan = feedstock.

Industrial symbiosis saves raw materials and energy, minimizes emissions, cuts logistics costs and exploits synergies. The concept can be applied to multiple sites being connected, as well as having dependencies in internal processes.  An interesting example of this concept is the “Verbund” mindset of our client BASF.


Utility planning as a driver for industrial symbiosis

On complex industrial sites the primary production processes and energy & utilities processes are strongly interconnected. Most obviously, the demand for energy and utilities is dependent on the intensity of the production process.

An accurate translation of production planning to energy and utilities demand is therefore key to avoiding excess energy generation. Where excess electricity can be fed into the national grid, excess steam and utilities are often wasted (check this infographic on creating value of excess steam).

There are several ways of improving your energy and utility planning.

Assuming the translation of production plans to energy demand is accurate, the starting point is to create insight in the accuracy of the demand plans of individual plants.
Creating awareness of these numbers will often lead to a natural improvement in accuracy.
Next, ex-post analysis of plan data versus actual demand can indicate structural deviations, which can be accounted for in the planning process.
Finally and when applicable, you can use advanced algorithms to create demand forecasts based on weather data and other relevant parameters.


How your utility planning is affected by heat and waste streams

If your operation contains exothermic processes and/or useful waste streams, utility planning becomes more interesting and complex. You can feed waste heat of exothermic processes back into the steam network, while combusting waste streams in boilers to generate ‘free’ steam.

If production plans fluctuate heavily over time, so will waste streams and energy demand. Key in these situations is to smartly combine all relevant parameters to reach the most optimal planning. One example is to schedule maintenance activities in periods when less waste streams are expected, in an attempt to match a reduced flow of free steam with reduced demand.



We can help you to improve your utility planning!

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your planning challenges. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your energy processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution Strategies

Towards Industry 4.0: calculating the value of your optimisation potential


Working on a more sustainable energy future is not only a noble effort in relation to future generations, but can be financially attractive for current business as well. The two infographics below back up this statement with numbers and offer a calculation method that can help you seize the value of your optimisation potential. Both are based on our experiences with our client group of (industrial) energy users.


Towards Industry 4.0

All the projects that we are working on within this group share a strong digitalisation aspect, in which raw sensor data are aggregated to higher-value context information. By making this information available at (near) real time, operators are capable of seizing opportunities that occur either on the market or within their own processes, without jeopardizing security of supply. These are typical first steps towards an Industry 4.0 operation.


Infographic #1: Calculating the value of reducing excess steam

For example, a medium sized plant with 30 ton / hr production could save €369,000 / year from literally disappearing into thin air while decreasing their CO2 footprint. How? Check this infographic!



Infographic #2: Calculating the value of monetizing flex on the imbalance market

For example, by capturing 5 minutes of every high imbalance price PTE in 2017 a medium sized industrial site with 10 MW of flexibility could have created power revenues of €430,000 while supporting stability of the grid. How? Check this infographic!



Interested to hear more?

Call Thomas Crabtree (+31 6 3085 2747) and find out how you are able to calculate the value of your optimisation potential. Or check our dedicated web page for industrial energy optimisation.



Energy analytics: optimise your operation on more than just thermodynamics

Traditionally, energy optimisation methods for industrial energy users have focused on thermodynamics of core processes. With the ever increasing possibilities of digital technologies and energy analytics, opportunities arise to subsequently optimise related processes such as consumption planning, procurement and asset dispatch. Combining internal with external optimisation creates synergies boosting business results. We call this System Optimisation.


Energy analytics: how to start

By adopting analytics in industrial energy operations, relevant data from multiple sources can be combined in the energy planning process. A key aspect while combining sources is to create uniformity in data received. This can e.g. include aggregating time series to fixed intervals, converting data into different units and aggregating measurements to the desired portfolio level.

When data has been uniformed, a data structure can be created to greatly ease the analysis process. Typically these data structures are constructed by creating different sectional views of your site. Once the uniformed data structures are in place, System Optimisation can be applied.


Using energy analytics to achieve system optimisation

Assuming the efficiency of your energy generating assets has long been optimised, it is time to look at how much energy is generated and at which costs. Starting point will generally be to have enough energy available for your primary production process at all times. Accurate energy demand planning is therefore essential to avoid excess generation.

Another route is to increase production during times overgeneration cannot be avoided. This can be the case when contracts (e.g. for ancillary services) prevent your energy assets from ramping down, or if steam production from waste streams exceed current demand. Preventing this requires an easy-to-access overview of contractual obligations, both on the production side as well as on the energy generation side.

While temporarily reducing production because of high energy prices is generally not considered feasible, increasing production during times of low energy prices is often a possibility. This requires at least an up-to-date overview of day-ahead and intraday prices, but might also require a real time imbalance price forecast. By combining the latter with a real time view on portfolio imbalance, opportunities on the imbalance markets can be seized.

Many other internal and external conditions can be taken into account, e.g. grid capacity contracts and emission reduction obligations.


We can help you to achieve system optimisation using energy analytics!

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your goals and challenges. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your energy processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution



BRP Market Access / API-based Web Services

Our new BRP Market Access solution that matches with the innovative character of your energy business

We see new parties entering the Power Balancing market that wish to integrate BRP functionalities and data directly into their applications. Based on the size and character of their portfolio, they do not require a standard, full stack solution to handle their BRP obligations.


BRP Market Access / API-based Web Services

At Energy21, we aim to match our data management solutions with the innovative character of our clients’ energy businesses. We are proud to have recently welcomed our first customer that is accessing their BRP data and energy data management functionalities via our API-based web services.

These services cover all required market processes such as nominations, register management, allocation, settlement and reconciliation. For example, in the Netherlands these services include direct market communication with EDSN, grid operators and TenneT.


Benefits of using the Energy21 API-based web services

Market access

 Guaranteed correct fulfillment of your BRP market obligations
 Use 1 standard web technology (JSON Web API’s) that is compliant with sector releases
 Technical certification included

Software architecture

 No system upgrades or updates required
 Integrate web services with your autonomously designed applications
 Combine various 3rd party web services


 Link costs to the size of your business
 Existing library can be used with no upfront investments


 Benefit from extras such as APX forecasts, allocation completeness check, etc.


Interested to hear more? 

Contact Michiel Kuiper via +31 6 2602 8130


Meter data management: the cornerstone of digitalisation

Where large industries and commercial energy users traditionally focused strongly on asset technology, digital technologies enable (near-) real-time steering of your energy operation. Energy21 specializes in making energy related data work for you. We support the complex operational decisions that arise in this process. Including smart meter data management is essential to help you capture and capitalize energy optimization opportunities.


Meter data management: organise before you optimise

Data needed to optimise energy operations is often readily available, e.g. from SCADA or DCS. The problem however is that this data is generally stored unprocessed, unstructured and non-uniform. By applying a smart meter data management solution your data can be made available to anyone involved in process optimisation.

Meter data management (MDM) is essential for combining data from different sources relevant for your operational decisions. Typically this includes actual measurements, production plans, energy prices, weather forecasts, technical capacities and many others.  An MDM system has two essential features. First, it automatically validates and corrects measurement data. Second, it creates uniformity between time series, e.g. by converting from volume to capacity data or by aggregating to standardised time intervals.

Our MDM solution EBASE has a particular focus on structuring data. Instead of having one big database where only those who know what to look for have access to data, we structure data according to your business topology. This makes it much more intuitive to work with available data sources. This way, energy data becomes available for all relevant departments: from energy procurement, to utility planning, to internal invoicing.


From meter data management to complex decision support

One of the most powerful digital applications for your energy operation is using data to support operational situations that require swift and accurate decisions. For example when an energy generating asset trips or when a short term market opportunity arises, you want to have all relevant data available to your operators. This way, you allow them to take exactly those steps to handle the situation in the best possible way.

Step one in this process is to analyse different scenarios that can occur and define the possible solutions, taking into account all relevant internal and external conditions. By capturing this business logic in an automated solution it becomes available to operators at all times. Next, the output of this business logic will be the input for predefined workflows. These will assure that all steps required to correctly handle the situation are executed correctly.



We can help you capture and capitalize optimisation opportunities!

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your challenges. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your energy processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution Strategies




Demand side management: creating revenue from energy flexibility

An increasing share of renewables will give rise to new opportunities for large industries when it comes to demand side management. With our help, this will not only support sustainability but also makes good business sense (for example check these Infographics that can help you calculate the value of your optimisation potential).

With large industries, demand side management is often considered unfeasible. Understandably, control of mission critical assets is not easily given away to aggregators. There are however plenty of opportunities for large industries to keep control over their assets and still benefit from the opportunities that arise from flexibility in energy demand or production:


Incidental demand side management: commercial dispatch

The general philosophy behind commercial dispatch is to extend the usage of your generating assets to not only supply your own processes with electricity, but also supply the grid when prices are sufficiently high. By bringing together market prices, ramp up capacity, expected demand and other relevant parameters in a real time overview, you will be able to act on market opportunities even on a small timescale.

Some energy intensive industrial processes such as electrolysis  and compression can also be used for commercial dispatch, because they are generally highly flexible in nature. The use of production buffers could for example create possibilities to temporarily ramp down electricity demand, while still meeting contracted supply levels. Seizing opportunities on the intraday or imbalance market can thus be approached from both a generation and a consumption point of view.


Structural demand side management: ancillary services

Transmission system operators increasingly require support in stabilising the grid. Requirements for delivering ancillary services differ between TSOs, but generally the possibilities range from continuous grid frequency support to incidental stability support in exceptional situations, each creating different revenues. Which ancillary services can be delivered by your operations should be evaluated by offsetting the flexibility of your processes against the requirements of the TSO.



We can help you create revenue from your energy flexibility!

At Energy21 we believe every large energy user has the  possibility to create revenues from their energy operation rather than simply being a cost driver.

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your opportunities. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your energy processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution Strategies




Optimising multi-utility processes at BASF

Reaching CDS compliancy standards while optimizing multi-utility interconnectedness

Together with BASF we were invited to present the experiences and insights gained at their chemical plant in Antwerp (Belgium) with a group of Dutch industrial energy users. In a mutual operation with BASF, we are working on the orchestration of the optimisation processes that are at the core of their Verbund thinking.

The BASF Verbund

The BASF Verbund is a one-source system, helping to control production, respond flexibly and act independently. It forms a starting point for multiple value chains and entails reducing raw material use, energy consumption and costs by a closely interlinked production system. On a global scale, BASF realizes annual savings of more than €1 billion through its Verbund concept.

Starting from a compliancy perspective, heading towards multi-utility connectedness

During the co-presentation, Lode Geerts (Head Utility Management , BASF) and Michiel Kuiper (CCO, Energy21) explained the different steps that led towards an optimisation of the connected BASF energy processes.

This journey once started with setting compliancy goals. By data-mapping their required energy numbers and linking these to production information, BASF was able to reach the standards that are required for a CDS (Closed Distribution System). It turned out that organizing the data according to site topology resulted in new insights triggering new ways to improve the Verbund:

Reduced imbalances
Optimised short term demand planning by using realization data (up to 1 minute intervals).

Aligned maintenance planning and production planning
Increased insight in the mid-term planning (window of weeks and months) enables BASF to steer towards less imbalances and peaks. This methodology helps to substantiate the impact of short-term changes in the maintenance planning.

Improved portfolio overview
Insight in BASF’s total portfolio and feedback to each individual customer (or asset) has resulted in understanding how to improve individual planning and operations in order to optimise the total Verbund.

Dutch CDS challenges

During the presentation, it became clear that the Dutch audience could link the BASF case to their CDS compliancy challenges. They also acknowledged the growing importance of optimising planning, monitoring and steering as well as ISO 50.001 compliancy.

How would Energy21’s approach work out in the Netherlands? In a few weeks we will publish an article that especially addresses Dutch ‘CDS’ challenges.

Eager to hear more?

Contact Alex Trijselaar, our Lead Consultant Industrial Energy Users, via +31 6 3167 3035.


ISO Energy management implementation in industry

In the pursuit of an ever more efficient use of energy, industrial energy users implement ISO energy management systems and aim to achieve ISO 50001 certification. As energy monitoring plays a crucial role in this process, it is worthwhile exploring the challenges companies face when monitoring is not straightforward.


ISO energy management and the energy monitoring challenge

The end goal of implementing the ISO 50001 energy management standard is to achieve continuous improvement of a companies’ energy efficiency. In a nutshell, the standard requires you to draft energy efficiency plans (PLAN), execute these (DO), monitor energy consumption before and after implementation (CHECK) and adjust your plans based on the results of the monitoring campaign (ACT).

The monitoring aspect of this cycle can be particularly complex in situations where many assets are managed, such as on integrated industrial sites or at railroad companies. The challenge here is to match the available monitoring equipment with the level at which the key performance indicators are evaluated.

In case your monitoring equipment is on a lower level than the KPIs, the values need to be aggregated to the right level. For example, KPIs can be evaluated per machine, per plant, per site or per legal entity. In this case a data structure helps tremendously in making sure the right data is used for evaluation of the KPIs.

In case your monitoring equipment is on a higher level than the KPIs, the measured values need to be allocated to the various underlying energy consumers. A consistent allocation methodology will  have to be defined, for example based on the energy market allocation process. Again, a meter data management system is crucial in making sure the KPIs are evaluated consistently.


How automated reporting helps ISO energy management

Collecting measurement data on the right level is the first step towards a consistent monitoring campaign. Next, the measurement data and KPIs should be combined in easily interpretable reports. This enables you to check the effectiveness of the energy efficiency measures and define follow-up actions.

Just as handling measurement data is best taken care of by an automated system to ensure consistency over time, reporting is typically something to be handled by a meter data management system. By pre-defining report templates and linking the right data sources, you only have to set up reports once. You can subsequently publish reports automatically at every desired interval (monthly, quarterly, etc.). Compared to the common practice of manually extracting data and copying this to a spreadsheet template, the automated method is more efficient as well as more accurate.



We can help you overcome your monitoring challenges!

Contact Thomas Crabtree via thomas.crabtree@energy21.com or +31 6 3085 2747 to discuss your challenges. Also, read more about how we can deliver, manage and optimise your monitoring and other energy management processes using our software solution EBASE. Or take a deeper dive into other energy optimisation strategies for industrial energy users:

EBASE Solution Strategies