ORLEN poised to further increase energy asset management efficiency

The ORLEN Group is set to introduce Virtual Power Plant (VPP) technology to facilitate the coordination of power generation sources across the country through a central control system. In addition to facilitating collaborative balancing, optimising production and enabling reporting of individual generating units, the project aims to automate internal processes, further strengthening ORLEN’s competitive advantage.

Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) are an increasingly adopted digital solution in the power industry, especially in companies with extensive renewable energy portfolios like the ORLEN Group. ORLEN is currently seeking proposals to develop a comprehensive business concept that would also take into account the technical scope of the planned Virtual Power Plant. A VPP concept provider will be selected in the first quarter of 2024, with the first implementation work scheduled for 2025. 

"ORLEN aims to harness the power of digitalisation by aggregating the capacities of its energy assets. The project will leverage detailed analyses of production, network, market, and weather data. By combining the collected data with state-of-the-art digital technologies, including artificial intelligence, the Group will achieve more efficient management of its energy assets. The Virtual Power Plant project will enhance the security of the national power grid, ensure stable energy supply, minimise the risk of energy overproduction, and, most importantly, improve production efficiency, potentially leading to reduced energy production costs in the future," said Marcin Piekarski, Energy Digitalisation Team Manager at ORLEN.

A Virtual Power Plant is a centralised information system designed for monitoring, controlling, and efficiently managing energy resources. VPP technology gathers data on electricity production from individual generating units and manages them to minimise fuel consumption, reduce failure rates, and lower carbon emissions. This approach ensures the stable operation of the power system, guaranteeing a reliable energy supply to consumers. This becomes particularly crucial during times of fluctuating electricity demand and in light of the ongoing transformation of the power system, in which renewable energy sources, prosumer sources, energy clusters, and energy cooperatives are gaining prominence. 

The Virtual Power Plant project is part of the ORLEN Group’s Energy Segment Digitalisation Strategy. ORLEN’s VPP deployment strategy provides for the centralisation and integration of both renewable energy generating units and conventional sources.  According to the ORLEN Group’s estimates, the capacity of units that could potentially be integrated into the VPP system will exceed 16 GW by 2030. 

The initial implementation of VPP technology is planned at ORLEN, with subsequent stages allowing for the gradual integration of generating units from other Group companies. Ultimately, this solution may be offered as a commercial service to third parties. 

The Virtual Power Plant is expected to create synergies for the operations of the ORLEN Group, which, following the acquisition of the Energa, LOTOS, and PGNiG Groups, is consolidating its leading role in the fuel and energy industry in Central and Eastern Europe. As a regional leader in the energy transition, the Group is consistently increasing its investments in low- and zero-carbon energy sources.  ORLEN already generates energy from solar PV and hydroelectric power plants, as well as onshore wind farms, with additional contributions from offshore wind farms, biogas, and biomethane expected in the near future. The project aims to enhance the efficient management of these units, bringing the Group closer to its ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.