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



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




Interview: “Growing gross margin requires a change of focus”

Interview with Bas Geerdes, Manager of Product Services Sales at Uniper Benelux

Uniper Benelux is now monitoring, evaluating and correcting the pricing within their current energy contracts during and even prior to the run-time of these contracts. How did this effect your overall gross-margin?

First, this constant monitoring allows us to better match our predicted to our realized margin. This way, we enable our colleagues at Finance to substantially decrease the level of uncertainty in their financial balances.

But second, we now also know why the realized margin will vary from the predicted margin. Based on these insights, we are improving our pricing within or even prior to the run-time of an existing contract.

Can you give an example of how your closer monitoring results in better pricing, and in the end, higher gross margins?

For example, we can highlight contracts in which essential conditions (number of connections or changes to the contractual period) vary from their original status at the date of signing. These mutations will most certainly cause a delta between contracted and realized volume. Before, we would have only found out about this after realization. Now, we can take appropriate measures and adjust these contracts even prior to their run-time. This way, we avoid these deltas.

In short, we have not only become better at predicting our margins, but also growing them. We are now able to pro-actively manage our portfolio “bottom-up”, from connection level all the way up to our total portfolio.

What did it take to realize this margin growth?

Apart from working with the Energy21 Pricing Circle, we had to change our focus in order to realize the above. Instead of concentrating at realized volumes at the end-date of a contract, our organization is turning its focus towards pro-actively managing contracts.

To be able to manage your portfolio “bottom-up”, you need to increase your information at connection level. So, our Sales colleagues are now providing more detailed information when they present a new customer. This extra administrative effort has resulted in a considerable increase of intelligence, control and predictability of our total gross margin.

Interested to hear more?

Check our Gross Margin Optimization expertise web page, including the the “Exposing hidden deviations” case study or contact Freek Venneman, Lead Consultant Gross Margin Optimization.


The fresh energy minds of 2017

The Fresh Energy Minds of 2017

The year 2017 is coming to an end. Our Junior Consultants that started this year are looking back at what for most of them has been their first professional encounter with the energy industry.

We were keen to hear about their experiences so far, so we organized a group session last week. But, besides looking back, we asked them about the future. What will the energy transition be like, and which role is there for Energy21?


Energy21 in the 21st century

Nicola Zanardi sees the big energy players wanting and needing to change in order to survive. He looks forward to working on interesting projects in which he can help guide them towards their new role in the energy system. Wouter Kramer agrees and believes that data will play a key role in this transition. He sees Energy21 as a data-enabler – we will enable companies to organize and understand their data so that they can make data-driven decisions.

Samuel Schöffer adds that when it comes to the further digitization of the industry, we can and should bridge the gap between technical possibilities and the energy system. With our knowledge of the energy market, this is where our added value is. “Tech is developing faster than the adaptability of governments and big utilities. Instead of following them, Energy21’s role is to show energy players the way forward”, stresses Tom Rooijakkers.

With this being said, we can only conclude we have made a clever move hiring these guys, as their thoughts and ambitions can contribute to the things we do at Energy21.


What about the group of 2018?

Next year, we hope to welcome a new group of Juniors. Would you be interested to join our company? We will ensure your start is as successful as possible. To enable you to develop quickly, our aim is to have you work with at least two large clients in the first year. In addition, you will complete a number of courses, depending on your prior education and interests.

In fact, the first year is comparable to a traineeship. However, we regard our Juniors as full-fledged colleagues; we give you a great deal of responsibility from the start.

Naturally, you will not do all this alone. As a Junior, you will always work closely with experienced colleagues. Together, you will translate problems into workable processes, process improvements and corresponding systems. After an advisory phase, you will also be involved in the implementation process of our software services.


Interested to become a Junior Energy Consultant at Energy21?

Check the Junior Energy Consultant job description or read the interview with two of our other (former) Junior Consultants.


Job Vacancy Interview

Webinar: Where and how to execute optimization strategies?

Providing practical knowledge to industrial energy users on the how of energy optimization

Built upon the use case of the planning optimization of a steam boiler (which can be illustrative for other energy generating asset), we share various examples of applying strategies that are both ambitious and feasible to execute without additional investments in energy related assets.


Register for the webinar


See below a preview of the examples discussed.


The importance of structuring data according to your site topology

The speakers kick off with looking into the data organization for a fictional production site with 2 steam boilers. This example showes the relationship between organizing your data on site topology and a succesful connection of your internal to your external planning.






How to determine the size & location of your optimization potential?

As of 9.00 min, two new examples are introduced on asset planning. These two examples explain step-by-step how increased accuracy in demand planning and imbalance forecast result in an optimized asset planning.




Operationalize in order to monetize

Fast forward to 20.00 min to learn about the relevance of using pre-defined scenarios in order to realize your optimization potential. The speakers explain the above by looking at a fictional situation in which the spot prices for the next day cross a threshold.





In this webinar, you will:

 Learn about the data pre-conditions for locating optimisation potential?
 Understand how to determine the location, size and availability of your optimisation potential
 Learn how to use pre-defined scenarios to offset your optimisation against their costs / your production targets

 Learn how to enable your operational staff to act in line with your strategy
 Understand how to continuously improve your production & (multi-utility) energy planning


Go to webinar

Or read our Guide for Commercial & Industrial Energy users explaining the key parameters for a efficient & optimized energy operation step by step.



Layered Energy System – Sustainable energy and flex for everyone

Stedin and Energy21 have designed a solution to a variety of existing and future energy system problems resulting from energy transition.

Blockchain technology is used to give shape efficiently to the layered energy system. Stedin and Energy21’s approach distinguishes itself from other projects in the energy sector where blockchain technology is applied because it is based on an open market rather than on peer-to-peer energy supply.

This layered energy system:

 uses a tax alternative for the Dutch netting scheme which makes sharing flexibility attractive
 is scalable, can be applied in the existing nationwide market model and improves access to flexibility for all market players
 leads to lower system costs
 involves customers in the energy system and consequently increases commitment to energy transition and the support base for changes



Energy transition leads to problems with grid congestion, voltage quality and system balance. To a great extent, the answer to those problems lies in providing access to and utilising decentral flexibility.

Only some of this flexibility will become available if the netting scheme is abolished. For the most part, prosumers will work on balancing their own generation and consumption “behind the meter”, as that will yield greater benefits. This may create a self-reinforcing effect which will make the grid increasingly less attractive and more expensive, which is also known as “grid defection” or “the death spiral”.

Blockchain technology is often mentioned as the overall solution for the complexity of a smarter energy system. However, the process often becomes a goal in and of itself. Stedin and Energy21 first and foremost examined the concept of open local energy markets as a solution to challenges the energy sector is facing, which resulted in the design of their layered energy system. Only after that was the applicability of blockchain technology examined in the context of that concept.


Layered market model requirements

A sustainable energy market model that can handle the challenges of energy transition, satisfies customers’ wishes and stabilises and develops itself to the lowest possible costs, consists of the following elements:

  1. Prices in the local market are lower than energy prices beyond the local market. To that end, a different form of the energy tax regime is used, which also serves as an alternative for the netting scheme.
  2. Incentives are provided by the grid manager to prevent grid congestion. In the preferred scenario, the grid manager acts as a party seeking flexibility on the market in order to perform congestion management locally.
  3. Both the local market and the nationwide wholesale and imbalance markets (and possibly adjacent and underlying markets) are linked through a gateway. Because of this layered structure, the sustainable local energy market model was named ‘layered energy system’.On the gateway, the local market constitutes a single entity and acts in accordance with the rules of the nationwide market. 
  4. Behind the gateway, the arrangements in the local market apply. This allows the local market to operate within the existing nationwide market:
     The reliability and the existing liquidity in the nationwide market continue to be secure and accessible
     There is no need for far-reaching changes in the nationwide market
     New market model variations grow in the ‘protected’ environment of the local market (see also figure 1)
  5. The local market is in a geographically connected area. This is necessary to make congestion management possible and is furthermore in line with the Dutch ‘postal code rose’ concept.
  6. The local market model is adaptable. The first design can be based on the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF) principles, in such a way that the facilitating system is flexible to such an extent that learning experiences and customers’ wishes can quickly be translated into improvements of the system.

Figure 1: Schematic representation of the links between local markets and the nationwide market.

System approach versus peer-to-peer supply

This layered energy system distinguishes itself from other energy sector projects that apply blockchain because it is premised on a market rather than on peer-to-peer energy supply.

It is precisely because of this system approach that supply, grid capacity and flexibility can be taken into account, making it possible to use the ‘lowest possible system costs’ as an important driver in the local market model. This is a second significant distinction compared with other local market initiatives.


Linking a local market to the nationwide market

A bidding system based on a merit-order principle is used to bring together supply and demand on the local market. This bidding system combines the local market prices with the wholesale market prices. As soon as there is a surplus or deficit on the local market, the wholesale market is accessed through the gateway.

Supply and sale in the local market are not subject to energy tax. Energy purchased from the wholesale market is subject to energy tax, which is allocated to all purchase orders made in the local market. This system enhances the possibility to purchase energy generated locally at the lower local price. Therefore, local energy will at all times be used first, making it attractive to offer flexibility in the local market.

Where grid congestion is imminent in or adjacent to the local market, the grid manager will also act as the party seeking flexibility, creating an extra incentive for making flexibility available. It will remain attractive to stay connected to the nationwide market and the nationwide grid to be able to trade in surpluses and deficits without having to invest in high-cost assets.

This local market design stimulates the contribution of flexibility to locations suffering from a flexibility deficit and discourages the expansion of flexibility to locations that already have sufficient flexibility.

Figure 2: Example of bringing supply and demand together on a local market.

Market process and blockchain application

The market process in the layered energy system follows the USEF steps: PLAN – OPERATE – SETTLE. The process has been outlined. The applicability of blockchain was tested based on that process.

Moreover, the technical aspects of the local market model can be given shape in various ways and its applicability is not contingent solely on blockchain technology. However, this technology does have a number of aspects that may offer major benefits in terms of flexibility, privacy and security. The type of blockchain (private blockchain, consortium blockchain or public blockchain) is important in that regard.

A consortium blockchain was chosen for this market model. One of the advantages of this type is that it is less energy intensive and easier to regulate. A preliminary cost comparison of a market facilitation based on blockchain versus server-client technology yields an outcome of €0.20 versus €2.00 per user per month in the local market.


Proof of Concept

In addition to the above-referenced benefits of our layered energy system, using blockchain offers a unique platform to gain accelerated learning experience with the renewal of the energy system and to explore the partnership between new parties.

Stedin and Energy21 have fleshed out the functional design for this market model and translated it into a rudimentary preliminary version of a working blockchain plus accompanying front application, which confirms the applicability, but currently does not allow for extensive testing and scenarios.

The next step is a stakeholder round intended to explain the model and to get feedback on the layered energy system. After that, the proof of concept will be developed in more detail based on pilots based on market needs. The premise in this respect is that this will be done in partnership with parties in the energy sector, but also with the necessary external parties, such as local energy cooperatives, consumers, banks and technology suppliers.


Interested to hear more?

For more information, please contact Michiel Dorresteijn (Projectlead Market Analysis & Blockchain Technology) via +31 6 117 169 27 or michiel.dorresteijn@energy21.nl


Pricing – automatically controlling margins for commercial manoeuvres

In the process of closing energy deals with non-residential customers sales wants to move forward…

… while portfolio management has good reasons to check and double-check the operational and financial implications of their energy offers. VALTAA helps you to close this gap.


Offering complex energy contracts

In today’s energy market, one does no longer compete on price alone. To grow your customer base, sales wants to be able to offer energy contracts that match with the more complex needs of large energy users (for example, multi-site contracts or contracts that differentiate on open volume, hedged volume or forecasted volume).

To move forward the sales momentum, it is equally important to speed up the process of forecasting the financial implications (or opportunities!) of deals offered by sales.


Generate automated but substantiated go’s for competitive energy offers

VALTAA enables you to create customized energy contracts composed of standardized pricing components. By using these standardized components, portfolio management can automatically control the margin for commercial manoeuvres in advance which makes (time-consuming) human validation of new contracts no longer mandatory.

Plus, no matter the complexity of the overall contract, these standarized components secure deliverability and invoiceability. Both add up to the long-term operational success of your energy business.


Would you like to hear more about VALTAA? Contact Michiel Kuiper via +31 6 2602 8130.