The share of renewable energy in the energy mix in Germany exceeded the 30% mark in 2015, and is expected to continue to rise. Due to this, electricity generation would be affected more strongly by fluctuations in the generation of electricity in future. Hence, it is important that flexibility options are researched and tested so as to ensure that the security of supply in Germany continues to remain high. The flexible activation of individual electricity-consuming processes by large-scale consumers is a flexibility option with great potential. Such activation mechanisms are also known as demand side management (DSM). It is important that its use is determined based on competitive price signals, so that the markets which develop are as cost-efficient as possible. Currently, large-scale consumers such as industrial companies are able to offer their flexibility in the market sectors of reserve power, intraday trading, as well as in the context of Load Shedding Ordinance (AbLaV). However, despite various studies on the topic, it is still unclear how much DSM flexibility can be used in the coming years, and at what price.
With the pilot project DSM Baden-Württemberg, dena has provided an important stimulus for analysing and tapping into the concrete DSM potential available in companies. This is because it is often the case that companies are as yet unaware of marketing possibilities, or are unable to assess with any degree of certainty whether DSM marketing will pay off for them. After a careful analysis of the situation in the companies, the marketers involved in the pilot project compiled quotes for DSM marketing. The companies were then able to decide if they were interested in an implementation of the DSM marketing and also if they would like to implement them. During this process, they continued to receive comprehensive advice from dena. In this manner, support could be provided for the market development for DSM, and at the same time analyses could be conducted directly with the market players involved on what the current difficulties and improvement options are in order to facilitate DSM marketing in the future. This groundbreaking pilot project was funded by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector.
Small-scale success is the key to large-scale changes. All participants were able to develop a better understanding of the specific challenges of DSM marketing. In this case, the potential for profits may be an important factor, but it is definitely not the only one. The technical suitability of the processes is also important, but particularly crucial is also the willingness in the company to grapple with the complex topic of DSM. When DSM is understood as an innovative possibility and as a component of a future, more strategically aligned energy management system, this is when the possibility for marketing and the positive perception and use of marketing experience is at its highest. However, the starting conditions are different for each company, such that time will definitely be required for widespread use of DSM, and continuous market development will be necessary.