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?



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.



RFI Technology partner ‘Market Service App’ for local energy markets

RFI Development and integration ‘Market Service app’ for local energy markets

Stedin and Energy21 designed the Layered Energy System (LES) based on the USEF framework. LES is a community-based market model that offers solutions to a variety of existing and future problems resulting from the energy transition. The next step in development of the Layered Energy System is doing a proof of concept in a real life local market setting. The project is looking for technology partners. 

Proof of concept in real life local market setting

Together with technology partners ABB and Enervalis, Stedin has found a location (Hoogdalem) in its grid area where a group of households are willing to participate in the first pilot project. Advanced technology, such as Heat pumps, Batteries, PV, internet-connected appliances (e.g. Laundry machines), is present in these houses enabling a full test of all functions of the Layered Energy System.

The project is looking for a partner who is capable of developing, and integrating the necessary ‘Market Service app’ on the Energy Web Foundation Blockchain. The market-service app has 3 goals:

 It matches local demand and supply of energy (through bids) in a market program (load profile)
 It brings together national and local need of flexibility (through flex offers and orders)

 It is able to process the effect of ordered flex into the market program (load profile)

The application will be a proof of concept and must be compatible with the blockchain of the Energy Web Foundation Tobalaba test network.

Interested to become a technology partner?

For more information, check Stedin’s RFI documents or contact Michiel Dorresteijn in case of any questions. Check our dedicated expertise page The energy system – Market model design to read more about the Layered Energy System.


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


Scalability and the design of a new energy system

The next step might prove to be the bigger challenge

Energy21’s Michiel Dorresteijn was asked to respond to the Initiate! Manifesto. Read below his findings and how he elaborates on what could be added to it:


The means to produce energy by yourself and to participate in an energy market are becoming available for anyone. Information and data can be obtained and analyzed with easy-to-use apps and increasingly (artificial) intelligent algorithms. At the same time, costs of solar panels, fuel cells and storage systems are plummeting, while the technical performance is being improved. In other words: Energy is democratized.

The Manifesto of Initiate! describes that process spot on.The world of energy is changing rapidly and this new order requires a new economy with new roles and responsibilities. That being said, the next step might prove to be the bigger challenge.

The Manifesto describes the need for something new, but has not yet reached the point of offering an approach on how to solve that. And the initiative is far too valuable and needed (!) if it would restrict itself to formulating the problem.


Customer empowerment needs a market design that enables it

If I would leave it with that I would be doing the same: describing a need without offering a way of how to deal with it. In that regard, it may be worthwhile to mention the attempt Energy21 has made on this issue last year together with the Dutch grid operator Stedin. Starting off with the basic assumption that there is a need for a new energy system that can accommodate the democratization of energy production and information, we explored a possible market design that could meet four main prerequisites: the system has to:

 lower overall system costs
 empower customers
 stimulate renewable energy

 be scalable


Accommodating both the existing and the new energy economy

Especially the fourth prerequisite is very important. Scalable means that a system can start on a small scale, but can grow without needing a complete ‘bing bang’ replacement of the existing system. A revolution will only lead to resistance and struggle with vested interests. With the Layered Energy System, we have designed and described a system that can accommodate both the existing and the new energy economy.

In my opinion, the strength of Initiate!’s message will be defined by the remedy for the sore spot that is offered, not only by putting the finger on it. Otherwise, very true observations may become hollow statements. Based on what can be read in the Manifesto so far, I am eagerly and expectantly looking forward to what this initiative will bring.


Interested to hear more?

Check our dedicated expertise page on energy system and market model design or contact Michiel Dorresteijn.


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.


Updated compliancy directives CDS network tariffs – now what?

Consequences of the recent decree of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM)

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM, the Dutch regulator) ensures fair competition between businesses, and protects consumer interests. This agency recently specified the criteria for Closed Distribution System (CDS) operators regarding the transparency of network tariffs. What does this mean for (future) CDS operators?

In order to make your life easier, we have studied the criteria and summarized the most important consequences when it comes to compliancy. Also, we identify the optimization opportunities that arise when industrial energy users re-organize their energy data following these regulatory transparency criteria.

Interested to hear about how this effects your (future) CDS? Contact us so we can help you take the necessary steps. Or check our dedicated web page for (industrial) energy users.


PDF Summary (Dutch)


Free EBASE Worksheet for Quants: a data fixing multi-tool

Reduce time spent on fixing input data and fully focus on the art of model development and analysis

Quantitative analysis and model-based business processes have become an integral part of commercially optimized energy operations. Especially ad-hoc or project-based quantitative analysis typically involves manipulation, transformation and cleansing of data in different kind of formats and file dumps.

It is estimated that quants / analysts spend almost 80% of their time on this “data fixing” activities, leaving only 20% of time to be effectively used on modelling and analysis itself.


EBASE Worksheet SE: a data fixing multi-tool

With EBASE Worksheet, time spent on data fixing is reduced substantially as it enables you to efficiently process and/or manipulate large (numbers of) files. 

EBASE Worksheet SE is the perfect tool for ad hoc analyses and data intensive activities that would otherwise take an inordinate amount of time.


Even without the underlying database and the energy market functionality, it can be used for processing and manipulating large (numbers of) files, generating reports or the creation of PoCs. The intuitive scripting language makes it a valuable part of my toolbox.


Joris Oostelbos – Solution Architect at Le Blanc Advies


EBASE Worksheet SE: it’s free!

As a module of our EBASE energy data management solution, Worksheet is mainly used by enterprise key-users and implementation professionals. But especially for analysts and quants, Energy21 now introduces the Special Edition (SE) of EBASE Worksheet as a free download: EBASE Worksheet SE.

 Large data sets (file sizes up to gigabytes) can be visually manipulated with a high performance

 Create clean data files for modelling and analysis tools like MatLab and R.

 The internal EBASE Script language allows for extended automation

 Our EBASE Worksheet SE application is fit for Windows 64bit