In Austria and Germany, the drive for low-carbon energy and the incentivising of renewable energy providers have led to an increase in the proportion of solar and wind energy in the public electricity grid. While this has obvious benefits in lowering the use of fossil fuels, it has also presented a challenge in the supply and demand of electricity. As solar and wind energy rely on weather conditions, and electricity from these sources cannot be stored, all the supplied electricity needs to be consumed at a given time regardless of demand. This can create supply surpluses and shortages and ultimately lead to fluctuations in the grid.
We have contributed to a solution by providing ‘balancing energy’: energy which can be applied to or removed from the grid as needed. As a consumer and producer of electricity, we are able to offer this flexibility by managing our own internal electricity production on-site. The steam produced by the production process is fed to a turbine generating electricity. When grid demand is high, our excess electricity is sold to the market. When demand is low, we bypass the turbine and feed the steam via pressure reduction which stops or reduces the electricity supply to the grid outside of the production facility.
Mondi now has two installations at Frantschach and Neusiedler in Austria that are qualified providers of ancillary services to the electricity grid. This balancing support ensures further growth of sustainably produced electricity in these locations. In Frantschach, we’re seen as one of the rare renewable suppliers supporting this service, which means that with our self-produced electricity we enable the development of further renewable energy sources.