Frequency Controlled Disturbance Reserves (FCR-D): The Dream V2G Service?

Is there one thing we have learned over the last years it is the need for a flexible electricity grid. Changing weather patterns, stopped or blown up pipelines, external shocks like the war in Ukraine leads to a very dynamic energy production and even to energy scarcity. To cope with our energy dependence on these events we need a grid that can accommodate flexible grid services. Flexibility services will be a key component of our future electric grids.

One such service is the FCR-D. You can bid on it on the Nord Pool exchange, but you will rarely be called to actually deliver. It needs fast reaction time, has little energy throughput, no battery wear … and is well-priced so viable business cases can be made by the service providers.

Does it get any better?

The Nordic Synchronous Grid supports ~30 million customers in Eastern Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Energy services are traded on the Nord Pool exchange.

One service is the Frequency Containment Reserve – Deviation (FCR-D). It supports the grid frequency if it drops under 50.0 Hz in the range of 49.90 Hz – 49.50 Hz and is up regulation only. (Note: lately also an FCR-D Down service has been introduced). 50% of energy in 5 seconds and the remaining in additional 25 seconds.

The potential of the FCR-D service was noted in the Danish Parker project, but at that time the pricing was in the low single digit EUR per MW/h (2017) and was not a viable business opportunity.

This changed in 2018, with an unusual warm summer that reduced the thermal power plant output because of lack of water cooling (water too warm), lack of Swedish energy from run-of-river plants and modest wind production.

As the chart shows the FCR-D average pricing per hour per MW rose to € 17.26 (dark blue bar) in 2018. The following 2 years the price was € 20.31 and € 14.43. But then something happened, and price rose to € 39.84 (2021) and last year to € 52.4.

To illustrate the economic potential for a MHDV:

Bidding 30 kW power for 10 hours per day would yield revenue of € 52.4 * (30kW/1000kW) * 10 hours * 365 days = € 5,738 per year. And even for 10 kW the vehicle could earn € 1,900 per year.

So how often was the vehicle “called into action” and how much energy was delivered to earn the € 5,738/year?

An analysis of the grid frequency (1 sample per second) from 10/01/2016 to 12/30/2017 showed the following:

- Samplings = 39,101,840
- Days = 452
- Hours = 10,861
- FDR UP seconds = 407,937 equal to 1.04% of total time
- FDR UP Events = 22,063
- FDR UP Events per Hour = 2.0
- FDR Energy Total = 153.97 kWh for total period (452 days)!
- FDR Energy per Day = 0.34 kWh
- FDR UP Energy per Event = 0.00698 kWh
- FDR UP Average Event Duration = 18.0 seconds
- Longest FDR UP Event = 998.0 seconds with 1.22367 kWh energy

In summary a very low energy service with resulting little to no battery degradation and high earnings potential. 

Thanks to Bjoern Christensen, VGI/V2X Expert for sharing his knowledge and market insights on grid balancing services through this article.

Bjoern Christensen

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