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The balancing group and balancing energy system is the key instrument for synchronising generation and consumption.
Together with the Balancing services, the balancing group and balancing energy system ensures that at all times just as much power is fed into the electricity grid as is taken from it. In particular, the balancing group and balancing energy system includes the obligation to include all generators and consumers in balancing groups (balancing group obligation), to notify and maintain balanced schedules on the basis of demand and generation forecasts (obligation to uphold balancing group commitments), and to offset unforeseen deviations from the schedule using balancing energy (balancing energy system).
Balancing generation and consumption with balancing groups
Balancing groups are used to balance generation and consumption. They are virtual energy quantity accounts managed by a balance responsible party. A balancing group may include, for example, the power stations of a power plant operator or the entire generation and demand of an energy utility. Also, there are pure trading balancing groups, which only cover traded electricity. Every generator and consumer in Germany is included in a balancing group. In the schedule notification, the balance responsible parties notify how much electricity they want to feed into the grid from a given generation plant or how much electricity they want to take from the grid at a given network connection point for each quarter hour of the following day. The schedules also cover the planned exchange of electricity with other balancing groups in line with the outcome of the electricity market.
Main incentive for balancing
The balancing energy prices are the main incentive to synchronize generation and consumption. The use of Balancing services to offset physical deviations between generation and consumption ensures that the discrepancies between the notified schedules and the actual situation are offset throughout the entire Control area. The costs of the use of the Balancing services are billed via the balancing energy system, so if a balancing group does not stick to its schedule overall, it has to bear the costs for the use of Balancing services. The balancing energy prices therefore act like a penalty payment for diverging from the notified schedule. They provide the key incentive to balance the balancing groups.
The total volume and balancing energy prices are shown in the market data visuals section. The published data include the required energy per quarter hour. The section also shows the prices that the transmission system operators paid for the balancing services used. There is data on balancing energy as well.