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Short-term electricity trading for system balancing: An empirical analysis of the role of intraday trading in balancing Germany's electricity system

Koch, Christopher; Hirth, Lion

Previous studies have noted that, unexpectedly, Germany's dramatic expansion of wind and solar energy coincided with a reduction of short-term balancing reserves. This observation has been dubbed the “German Balancing Paradox”. This paper provides further and updated evidence: since 2011, wind and solar energy have nearly doubled while both reserve requirements and reserve use have declined by 50%. The paper quantitatively explores one reason for reduced balancing needs: increased and improved short-term wholesale electricity trading on the intraday market. Trading is now commonly done around the clock and based on quarter-hour, rather than full-hour, contracts. The shift to quarter-hourly products alone explains a decrease in balancing energy by 17%. There is also strong evidence that market parties respond efficiently to imbalance charges, suggesting that incentive-based approaches to electricity balancing work.
Published in: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 10.1016/j.rser.2019.109275, Elsevier