Electricity

Cement giant Holcim joins Croatia’s first virtual power plant

Cement giant Holcim Croatia first virtual power plant

Photo: Holcim

Published

June 10, 2022

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Published:

June 10, 2022

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By joining KOER’s virtual power plant – aggregator and adjusting electricity consumption on demand, the Komoračno cement plant is contributing to the integration of renewable energy in Croatia, its owner Holcim said.

Cement production is one of the most energy-intensive sectors and one of the hardest to decarbonize, but such plants can already get an important role in the energy transition. Holcim’s plant in Komoračno in Croatia’s Istria peninsula has long been working on resource efficiency solutions. More than 20 years ago it started using ash and gypsum from the nearby Plomin coal-powered plant in its operations.

Holcim said the unit has just joined KOER’s virtual power plant, the first in the country, enabling more significant investments in renewable energy. Operators of cloud-based systems of the kind, also called aggregators, unify available electricity sources so they can jointly increase output when the transmission system lacks power.

Virtual power plants or aggregators have an important role for the integration of renewable energy sources, as power supply from wind and solar parks is unstable due to changes in the weather

Virtual power plants can also coordinate a decrease in consumption, for example in factories and shopping malls, or facilitate a boost in consumption in the case of a jump in electricity production, mostly when an unexpected burst of wind or sunshine boosts the level of renewable energy in the grid.

The Croatian electric power system is being rapidly decentralized, which increases the need for aggregators. They can also control available storage capacity, batteries in particular. Participants in a virtual power plant get compensation for their ancillary services, which keep electricity supply and demand in balance.

“Our goal is to accelerate the energy transition and manage energy in a smarter way,” KOER’s Director Marko Lasić said.

Holcim noted it is investing in the development of a low-carbon cement production technology. By joining the virtual power plant and adjusting electricity consumption on demand, the company will contribute to the integration of renewable energy in Croatia, the statement adds.

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