A new era for production planning with different energy sources

Power producers using Powel’s new Multi Asset Optimisation can look forward to increased efficiency and higher profits. The new solution contributes to better usage of green energy in the production, ensuring actual optimisation of energy production in a system consisting of thermal, water, wind, and solar energy sources.  

The green shift, with its increased focus on more markets and energy sources, is making daily life more complicated for power producers. This was the background for Powel’s project “New system for optimal planning of thermal and green energy sources towards several simultaneous power markets”. The project, supported by the Norwegian Research Council’s EnergiX programme, is now completed. Powel’s new solution POMA (Powel Optimal Multi Asset) has been developed as a result of research undertaken during this project. 

“There were mainly two factors that formed this project. Firstly, the market was missing a tool to give energy producers a complete overview of the flexibility in their complex mix of energy sources. Secondly, there was a lack of commercial IT models meeting new demands tied to optimisation of energy producing units,” explains Carl Fredrik Tjeransen, Project Manager in Powel. 

New models and methods increase the value of Norwegian hydropower 

Building on these factors, the project set out to develop a model for short-term planning of hydrothermal capacity that would provide better re-allocation of the power production. In order to handle the volatility in non-flexible energy sources like wind and solar power, it is necessary to have good forecasts for this production so as to ensure that the value of the optimisation of adjustable hydropower and available thermal production is as good as possible. Thus, one aim of the project was to develop methodology that would make this type of forecasting more precise. 

Throughout the project, a range of new methods and models have been developed. In addition to POMA, there is the thermal optimisation model Powel Optimal Thermal and a new tool that uses machine learning to forecast wind power production. A study looking at the possibility for a forecasting tool for solar energy production was also conducted. 

“Improved coordination of various power plants will lead to more efficient utilisation of thermal energy. As a consequence, the total emissions from energy production from thermal fuel can be reduced,” says Tjeransen. “Furthermore, a larger percentage of volatile energy from solar and wind leads to an increased need for flexible production from sources that can be controlled. With optimal plans and efficient models for forecasting, the value of Norwegian hydropower in a joint European market has the potential to increase significantly as a result.”

Substantial market potential 

Throughout this project, Powel has had great faith in the market potential for innovation. The commersialisation of the product has now been successfully executed in Europe and we have received positive feedback from several international players on the research that has been undertaken.    

“We believe that Powel Optimal Multi Asset can become the market-leading planning system for coordination of power production from different energy sources. By optimising balancing services and providing decision support when reporting balancing power, the solution will both decrease trading costs and facilitate more running trading,” says Arnstein Kjesbu, EVP in Powel.

Research and partnership strengthening international growth

The project was carried out in cooperation with a number of partners. NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and CenSES with SINTEF were important scientific partners whilst Axpo and Hydro contributed as industrial partners. It has increased the level of competency within optimisation and solution algorithms both internally in Powel and externally, and has contributed to Powel’s international growth. 

“With this project, we show that Powel is in possession of high-level research expertise and that we achieve results. We are already able to document that results from the project ensures stronger incentives for the green shift. Additionally, these are in line with trends and needs in the market. It is particularly important to us that the interest for our solution is so significant in the international market,” says Chief Strategist in Powel, Klaus Livik. 

Powel has already begun a new EnergiX project, where we will build on the results from this project. The new project will focus on solutions for flexibility and difficulties relating to water-courses that has little possibility for regulation. The project, “Intelligent decision-support tools for better utilization of flexibility from hydropower,” received support from the Norwegian Research Council in December 2017.