Industrial demand response for frequency balancing and voltage control

Power-intensive industry has large loads and fast response time, and therefore already offer reserves for frequency balancing. Industrial loads can also adjust their active and reactive power consumption and provide voltage control services. Not all power-intensive industry is built to respond quickly enough to offer frequency balancing services, and this solution covers how industry can adjust their facilities so that they can provide frequency balancing. The solution also addresses the technical requirements for industrial loads to be able to provide voltage control services.

Inertia 2020, New 4.0 and WindNODE are looking at how existing industry can adjust their facilities so that they can provide frequency balancing or improve existing reserves. OSMOSE is preparing a demonstration of how industrial demand can change its reactive and active power consumption to provide voltage control services. In Valais, the GOFLEX teams aims at optimising the balance for the distribution system operator to reduce corrective costs and use demand-side management to reduce peak loads on the distribution grid, thus reducing the need of upgrading the infrastructure in areas where decentralized PV production is increasing.

Currently, industrial loads offer frequency balancing according to the products defined in balancing markets. FFR (Fast Frequency Response) requires a response even faster than any existing product. Until now there has been no need for FFR as a market product because of the “natural” inertia in power plants such as hydro and gas. The integration of more renewable resources which are lacking “natural” inertia, such as wind and PV, causes the need for fast responses from new sources. A pilot of Statnett’s project tested how large loads (Hydro’s aluminium production) can offer FFR.

Components & enablers

  • Access to balancing and/or voltage or flexibility markets for industrial loads (medium- and large-scale)
  • Definition of new products, e.g. FFR and voltage control, in markets

Technical requirements:

To be able to offer sufficiently fast response to help with frequency imbalances, the industry must allow changing their consumption relatively fast, depending on what kind of frequency reserve they want to offer. The FFR requires that 100% of the power offered can be activated within a period of 1 second. To participate in the FCR market 50% of the offered power must be activated within 15 seconds and 100 % within 30 seconds. The above requirement is applicable in Nordic power system. However, in Central Europe there are different requirements.

State of the art in application and research

In Statnett’s pilot project with Hydro the power offered was 30 MW within 1 second. This reserve, combined with other FFRs, was able to handle a change in frequency of 0.4 Hz. The project was successful, and it showed that is it possible for large-scale industry to offer FFR, although there are some limitations to the amount of power available.

The New 4.0 project on flexibility from aluminium production was successfully able to offer FCR. They were able to offer +/-25% of the nominal load in a period of up to 48 hours. The technology developed could be scaled up within 3-4 years.

Technology Readiness Level

FFR: TRL 6 – demonstration:

Some of the projects are still in the pilot phase, especially Inertia 2020 because the FFR product does not exist in the balancing market yet.

Existing production: TRL 9 – implementation:

Many of the projects aim to offer more flexibility by decreasing the response time and increasing the capacity, but industry offering frequency reserves is common in existing markets.

Voltage stability: TRL 3 – research:

OSMOSE is currently preparing to demonstrate how industrial demand can change its reactive and active power consumption to provide voltage control services.

Current focus of R&D and research gaps

The ongoing Nordic project Inertia 2020 will look further at the results from the FFR pilot project and find a common product description for FFR as well as creating acquisition guidelines for FFR capacity. In May 2020 FRR will go into operation.


[1] Inertia 2020-FFR in Statnett with Hydro. [Link]

[2] New 4.0 [Link] :

  • Pilot: flexibility from heating facilities. [Link]
  • Pilot: flexibility from aluminium production. [Link]
  • Pilot: flexibility from steel production. [Link]

[3] WindNODE-Smart industrial load management in Berlin with load-shifting potential in the energy intensive industry. [Link]

[4] OSMOSE WP5. [Link]