- Dingolfing / Landshut. The energy control stations at BMW Group Plants Dingolfing and Landshut are stepping up their activities in the balancing-power market: Together with other highly-flexible controllable systems in the BMW Group production network, they will contribute to the stability of the public grid outside of the plant.
By participating in the balancing-power market, the BMW Group is implementing an innovative business model, enabling integration of renewable energies into the electricity mix and fulfilling important requirements for the electric mobility of tomorrow. Once again, the BMW Group is demonstrating its holistic view of premium electro-mobility and its belief in a sustainability that extends far beyond electrified vehicles.
Balancing energy as a safety net
Balancing energy serves as a versatile energy reserve that can be used to even out fluctuations in the grid. This is necessary because power generation from renewable energies depends on availability of sun and wind and can therefore only be controlled to a limited extent. For this reason, network operators utilise so-called balancing power to ensure that the power grid remains stable, despite increasing integration of renewable energies. This applies when there is a surplus of electricity – for example, of wind power during stormy weather – but also when there is a surge in demand among electricity consumers in the network. If the target grid frequency drops below 50Hz, transmission system operators provide balancing energy to offset this – on an ongoing basis, virtually in real time.
Stable grids for future electric mobility
As mobility becomes increasingly electric, the energy and mobility sectors will grow closer together. This is clear, for example, from the BMW Group’s marketing of balancing power. “With this business model, we can help stabilise the grid and expand the use of sustainably-generated electricity,” says Dr. Joachim Kolling, head of BMW Energy Services. “Through intelligent connectivity and management of electricity producers, consumers and storage options, we are helping shape the energy grid of the future. The flexibility we provide paves the way for the CO2-free electric mobility of tomorrow,” adds Kolling.
Building a virtual power plant
The facilities in Dingolfing and Landshut are part of the BMW Group’s network of different energy systems at various sites. With intelligent management, these highly-flexible systems can absorb energy as needed or release it into the grid. “You have to imagine it as a virtual Group power plant providing us with additional flexibility. We refer to it as the BMW power pool,” says Dr. Joachim Kolling. In addition to flexible energy generators, such as the combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Dingolfing, energy consumers can also be integrated into the BMW power pool. The same now applies to the ventilation systems at BMW Group Plant Landshut, for example. Using the only process of its kind in the industry, ventilation can be flexibly adjusted without any adverse effects. The BMW Battery Storage Farm at the Leipzig plant, which has been on-stream since October 2017, with up to 700 BMW i3 batteries, is also part of the BMW power pool.
Future flexibility also through electric vehicles
As advancing electromobility brings new technical innovations, electrified vehicles will no longer just be consumers of electricity, but will also be able to feed power back into the grid, as needed. Dr. Joachim Kolling explains: “Think of our electrified vehicles as mobile power storage units. Not only will the stationary installations at our plants soon be networked to keep the grid stable, but so will our vehicles – with the consent of our customers, of course.” With this holistic approach to electromobility, the BMW Group is making a major contribution to the emission-free mobility of the future.