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Viessmann and 50 Hertz integrate heat pumps to stabilize German grid

The partner companies say smart heat pumps can offer flexible capacity that network operators can use for safe operation and households could also benefit from a reduction in electricity prices.

From pv magazine Germany

German heating, industrial, and refrigeration systems manufacturer Viessmann is testing the grid-integration of heat pumps in the service area of electricity transmission system operator 50 Hertz.

It is generally accepted heat pumps make a contribution to the energy transition as they generate CO2-free heat but they could also offer flexible capacity for network operators. Viessmann and network operator Tennet have been testing that theory since 2020 and their efforts have now been expanded to the area covered by ​​50 Hertz.

Viessmann will seek to determine flexible capacity possibilities via interfaces on heat pumps and heat storage systems, bundling them using the “ViShare Energy Community” and offering them to transmission system operators. The heat pump manufacturer promises anonymity and data protection-compliant transmission to the Equigy platform, from which network operators can seek grid capacity.

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When determining possible capacity, care is taken to ensure temperatures in heat storage tanks and in rooms do not fall too low, and participating households will be rewarded for their flexible capacity. Viessmann collects a fee for the capacity offered and converts it to a heat electricity tariff which is several cents per kilowatt-hour less than the usual electricity price. The precise value depends on external factors such as the size and heating requirement of a household, which Viessmann asks when participants register for its “Viflex” tariff.

Viessmann is seeking participating households, especially in German states such as Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Hesse, Bavaria, Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg.  A Viessmann heat pump is not a prerequisite for participation. All that is required is a heat electricity tariff tailored to the heat pump, according to the manufacturer.

The company’s electricity prices recently hit the headlines thanks to a case in the Frankfurt am Main regional court. The consumer protection agency for North Rhine-Westphalia, Verbraucherschutz NRW, sued Viessmann for “misleading advertising claims” behind its tariffs. According to a regional court ruling made on December 21, Viessmann is not allowed to designate a “flat rate” electricity tariff as it is a volume tariff. However, the “Viflex” heat electricity tariff is not affected by that judgment.

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Source: pv magazine