Siemens expands virtual power plants to industry with new Sinebrychoff contract

In a move that brings new market opportunities for industrial players, Siemens has developed a unique business model to support the next level of energy optimization for Finnish brewery Sinebrychoff, a subsidiary of the international Carlsberg Group. At the heart of the solution, which will be implemented at Sinebrychoff’s plant in greater Helsinki, is a virtual power plant (VPP) and the latest energy storage technology, supported with financing solutions, to create one of the first examples of power flexibility in an industrial site.

The innovative model required close cooperation between a number of entities. For financing solutions, Siemens Smart Infrastructure (SI) partnered with Switzerland-based MW Storage International AG, which secured the initial project investment, and Siemens Financial Services (SFS) to bring in its risk management and deal structuring expertise. MW Storage International owns a 69 percent stake in the project. SFS created the financial and legal framework, co-developed the business model, and enabled the VPP setup through smart financing. Fluence, a joint venture of Siemens and AES, is contributing its 20-megawatt Edgestack energy storage system to the plant, designed specifically for commercial applications. Vibeco, a subsidiary of Siemens Finland specializing in VPPs, will supply the trading platform to enable energy transactions.

“We have worked with Sinebrychoff for years to support their energy efficiency and emission reduction goals. Thanks to historical energy data and bundling the competencies from different players, we can now use digitalization to create the potential for savings and improve the quality of power supply to the brewery,” said Matthias Rebellius, managing board member of Siemens AG and CEO of Smart Infrastructure. “Together with our partners, we can offer an innovative service model to actively help industrial companies make the transition to the green economy.”

In addition to devising the model and bringing in its domain know-how, SI will upgrade the grid connection and also be responsible for ensuring energy optimization at the plant. Altogether, the partners are creating a unique digital ecosystem that supports the energy transition. The solution is slated to debut by summer 2021.

Sinebrychoff is one of Finland’s leading breweries, producing over 300 million liters of beer, cider, soft and energy drinks annually. With the new energy and storage model, the company is expected to reduce its annual energy consumption and CO 2 emissions. Sinebrychoff provides the location for the energy storage system, which is half the size of a soccer field. The company consumes energy from the storage system for its own operations. The benefits Sinebrychoff receives, include improved energy efficiency, a new revenue stream, advanced analytics and weather forecast integration. Sinebrychoff plant’s power loads are connected to the Finnish energy market, which the country’s national grid operator Fingrid oversees. The latter compensates market players for playing a role in enabling grid flexibility.

Lease-based energy storage
“We were looking for ways to improve our energy efficiency and power quality in our production facilities,” said Pasi Lehtinen, VP Supply Chain at Sinebrychoff. “This innovative model developed by Siemens and its partners is an ideal all-in-one solution.”

Fluence’s Edgestack™ energy storage system is built on its sixth-generation tech stack, which combines factory-built hardware, advanced software and data-driven intelligence. Edgestack features a modular design and supports commercial and industrial applications, helping customers avoid expensive peak loads, regulate frequencies, and balance voltage fluctuations.

“Energy storage provides significant benefits not only to customers but also to the broader electric grid,” said Dennis Fehr, CFO at Fluence. “We are pleased to contribute our industry-leading technology to the project and look forward to replicating this service model with Siemens and MW Storage International in the future.”

Purchase, installation, and operation of the system are handled by Siemens and Vibeco. Grid operator Fingrid purchases additional services, such as primary grid frequency regulation, that are supported by the energy storage system installed at Sinebrychoff. Thanks to Fingrid establishing national marketplaces for reserve power and balancing the grid, the storage system can automatically and continuously balance the grid.

“We see this as the storage model of the future for various industries, including food and beverage,” added Wilfried Karl, CEO, MW Storage International. “They benefit from state-of-the-art storage technology, financial and environmental advantages, as well as proven expertise and an attractive license model.”

“Like many other industries, the global food and beverage sector is going through a major energy transformation,” said Roland Chalons-Browne, CEO, Siemens Financial Services. “The integration of technology and finance has enabled this ground-breaking solution for Sinebrychoff, and in turn has created a very effective model for energy management.”

The project will be a new showcase for Siemens’ VPP solution, which runs on a software platform. The platform intelligently balances electrical loads from buildings or manufacturing facilities that have been connected in a microgrid, incorporating renewable energy and energy storage. In helping balance power consumption, the VPP decreases the need for reserve power, leading to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the Finnish market.