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Anticipated electricity demand ultimately influences generation
To be able to plan dispatching, electricity producers must know in advance when electricity from their facilities will likely be needed. For this reason Electricity consumption forecasts, among other things, are created.
Standard profiles serve as part of the basis for these forecasts. They are used to represent certain groups of consumers, for example residential customers, where a similar consumption is anticipated. Standard profile meters are read for this purpose once a year. The forecasts are also based on data collected from wholesale customers. Collecting is done through what is called interval metering with customers whose demand is more than 100,000 kilowatt hours (KWh). Here the consumption is recorded at quarter-hour resolution and submitted monthly. Together with meteorological data and socio-economic factors, this consumption data helps to derive statistical values that can be used to calculate anticipated consumption.
Using these consumption and generation forecasts from renewable and conventional energy sources, electricity producers can complete what is called dispatch planning. Other variables also play a role in this planning, such as the status and condition of the generating plants and assessments of bidding behaviour of other players in the electricity market.
Forecast data provided on SMARD is submitted by the four German Transmission system operators for their control areas and aggregated for Germany.
There can be deviations between the forecasted values, for example for Electricity consumption, and the actual values. Consumption and generation forecasts, however, are continually improving, which can be demonstrated by showing the deviation between forecasted and actual values in 2015 and 2020:
Deviations in forecasted and actual Electricity consumption values can arise, for example, when more or less electricity is consumed than previously assumed.
There can be deviations in forecasted generation values whenever power stations unexpectedly cannot be operated at full power, for example due to a malfunction. Even a weather forecast that turns out to be inaccurate can lead to a deviation in generation by wind energy or photovoltaic installations.
If the actual Electricity consumption deviates from the forecast, Electricity generation is adjusted. If it is too late to adjust generation in time, a positive or negative Control area balance, a system-wide physical surplus of electricity feed-in or offtake, can occur. Transmission system operators resolve this imbalance with Balancing services.
On SMARD you can also view forecast values for renewables and select any combination of offshore wind, onshore wind, photovoltaics and other generation. By selecting "Total" you can display forecasted generation for both conventional and renewable energy sources. The Transmission system operators always submit the data at 6pm for the following day.
Under "Forecasted consumption" you can also find "Forecasted residual load", which is the share of Electricity consumption that is not expected to be covered by wind or photovoltaic system generation. There was a high level of generation from wind in October 2021 when the two storms "Hendrik" and "Ignatz" struck Germany. The storms had already been taken account of in the forecasts. In this time period the forecast for the residual load was correspondingly low.
Both day-ahead and intraday forecasts are available for onshore wind, offshore wind and photovoltaics and you can choose one or a combination of these categories for the forecasts.
Day-ahead forecasts are also available for generation from "other" energy sources and for "total" generation from conventional and renewable sources. Provisional figures for the next day are published together with the day-ahead data by the Transmission system operators by 6pm each day. The intraday data are updated as and when necessary and at least once before 8am the next day.