Bixia – Maximising Customers’ Revenue Without Increasing Costs

Sympower’s flexibility services are ideal for energy companies looking to expand their service portfolio and offer more benefits to their customers. Since the summer of 2022, Sympower has partnered with Bixia to offer demand response services to their customer portfolio across Sweden. 

Bixia is a Swedish electricity trading company with sustainability at its core. Owned by Tekniska Verken, it is one of the Swedish electricity companies purchasing the largest share of renewable and locally produced electricity. They currently balance around seven terawatts/hour on the production side and around 6.5 terawatts/hour on the consumption side across Sweden. 

Entering demand response with Sweden’s leading flexibility services provider

Bixia wanted to add new solutions to its service portfolio that would benefit its customers without increasing their electricity costs. Upon investigation, they quickly identified the need and potential for flexibility services. Demand-side flexibility appeared to be the ideal solution, enabling Bixia’s customers to reduce their electricity costs, while stabilising the Swedish grid and, in the long run, allowing more renewables to power the energy system. 

“Sustainability is part of our DNA, and we want to help the climate by working with smaller renewable energy producers. Adding demand response to our service portfolio was more than just a financial decision: we wanted to play a part in strengthening the entire energy system and enabling more renewable energy to power Sweden.”

 Eric Constantien, Bixia’s Head of Sales

The next step for Bixia was finding a like-minded flexibility services provider able to work with small and medium-sized businesses. Sympower, with its extensive track record and market-leading position in Sweden, was the natural choice.

Unlocking the value of demand-side flexibility

Bixia and Sympower’s partnership began in the summer of 2022 with a crypto-mining company and soon extended to a wide range of customers, from data centres to sawmills and greenhouses. 

Bixia and Sympower currently manage around 16 megawatts on the FCR-D Up and FCR-D Down balancing markets, with customers’ assets activated on average a couple of times monthly. The Frequency Containment Reserves for Disturbances (FCR-D), also known as primary control reserves, are the first to be activated to fix disturbances in the grid’s frequency. Companies participating in demand-side flexibility on the FCR-D Up market must reduce their electricity consumption for a few minutes to support grid frequency regulation until it is back in balance at 50 Hz, while customers on the FCR-D Down market must increase their electricity consumption. Because the FCR-D programmes act as a first defensive layer to prevent blackouts, the energy assets connected to them must be able to alter their consumption significantly within five seconds. 

Customers are financially compensated for every hour they are available and able to deliver, regardless of whether their assets are activated. Annual gross revenues for each of the FCR-D markets are around 100.000 euros per megawatt provided. The Swedish TSO Svenska Kraftnät first pays Bixia and Sympower, who then passes on the revenue to the participating business, minus a small share.

“It was crucial for us to find a partner who could work with companies of all sizes, especially small and mid-sized ones. Sympower has the right platform and expert team, and can inform our customers on the benefits of demand response for their business, showing them that they would help the energy transition while earning revenue.”

Christian Andersson, Bixia’s Key Account Manager

Working hand-in-hand to maximise benefits for customers 

At the beginning of the partnership, Bixia’s team received in-depth training from Sympower covering all relevant aspects of demand-side flexibility and Sweden’s energy markets. 

In addition to learning about demand-side flexibility solutions and management, Bixia’s team was trained on more complex topics, such as how to discover their customers’ potential flexibility, which industries and equipment can be used for demand-side flexibility, and how to sell flexibility services successfully. 

This bespoke programme training has enabled Bixia to act as the first point of contact with interested customers and to answer their initial questions. Bixia then involves Sympower’s team to provide their expertise by first identifying how to maximise the customer’s earnings without disrupting their core processes and then connecting their assets to Sympower’s platform. 

“This partnership works incredibly well, partly because Sympower and Bixia’s teams always have the customers’ best interest in mind. Our customers deeply appreciate this joint expertise, and many as a result want to increase their demand-side flexibility participation by connecting more assets or other factories. In fact, one of the sawmills we work with, which started by connecting just three mills, is now looking into integrating demand response to other sites.”

Eric Constantien, Bixia’s Head of Sales

Bixia is now looking into expanding their work with Sympower by adding the Manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR) markets to the partnership. By integrating more markets with Sympower, Bixia will be able to provide even more value to their customers by enabling them to connect more assets and further increase their revenue. 

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