Balancing the energy grid with Fortum Spring

Fortum is a European energy company with activities in more than 40 countries. Fortum provides their customers with electricity, gas, heating and cooling as well as smart solutions to improve resource efficiency. Fortum wants to engage their customers and society to join the change for a cleaner world. Fortum is the third largest producer of CO2-free electricity in Europe. With approximately 19,000 professionals and a combined balance sheet of approximately EUR 69 billion, Fortum has the scale, competence and resources to grow and to drive the energy transition forward.

Volatility and rising energy costs have shaken the energy market to its core. In order to maintain steady electricity currents, innovative solutions are required. As a major player in the Nordic electricity markets, Fortum partnered up with Etteplan to deliver a solution that would help them interact with their customers, control and aggregate small energy assets, and balance the energy grid. The solution enables Fortum Spring, a smart energy management platform that helps customers optimize energy usage.

Cooperation with Etteplan started from a POC (proof of concept) project which blossomed into a solution development project. The need was for a device that could control customers’ electricity assets such as batteries, UPSs (Uninterruptible Power Supply), and other power reserves, to give energy to the grid when needed. This would not only help with balancing the grid but also optimize energy usage and tap into new markets.

“Etteplan has a strong knowledge and understanding in embedded development. Also, we had good experiences from the POC and it was a natural choice for us to continue working with Etteplan as they were already familiar with our project. Additionally, Etteplan has been very agile in providing us with the development resources when needed,” explains Ilari Alaperä, Head of Fortum Spring, on why Etteplan was chosen as the development partner.

A central communication system to control energy assets

Etteplan’s solution is a cloud connected gateway device that acts independently, releasing power to the grid. These devices are designed to activate if the frequency drops or goes over certain limits, allowing batteries to push more energy to the grid and monitor and supply extra power. Through a cloud connection the device collects data and relays it to users. In other words, the solution is the central communication system that enables the control of different energy assets.

“The implementation process has gone smoothly with Fortum. We started with POCs and then moved on to productization with a better platform. Throughout the process, we had good relationships with the customers, and they trusted us to make the platform better, bit by bit. Our focus was on the relationship and partnership, with a strong trust from the customer,” explains Samuel Zetterlund, team manager from Etteplan.

Combating the volatility of the energy market 

The new solution provided Fortum with a necessary tool to connect energy reserves to the market and grow new business. For Fortum’s customers the solution saves energy, optimizes energy usage, reduces energy costs, and makes the grid all-around smarter.  Societal gains are also noteworthy. By balancing the energy market, energy costs will be reduced, and consumption will be more optimized.

“Outsourcing embedded gateway development has allowed us to focus our development activities on the market logic / aggregation, where our teams expertise are,” concludes Ilari.

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Kari Jussila
Kari Jussila
Director, Service Solutions