Manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR)

mFRR is a process for restoring the frequency and power balance in the power grid. It is done by changing the active power of an energy asset with a ramp-up time to full activation (FAT) of up to 12.5 minutes with manual activation.

To ensure a secure and affordable supply for all of its citizens, the European Union requires a well-managed internal electricity market. The EU enacted regulations on electricity balancing in 2017, with the goal of integrating electricity markets across EU countries. The Electricity Balancing Guideline aims to create a market in which countries can share the resources used by transmission system operators to ensure that generation and demand are always equal. It is also about allowing new entrants into the market, such as demand response and renewables. Overall, the Balancing Guideline should help increase supply security, reduce emissions, and lower customer costs.

Manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR), also known as tertiary reserve, is used to maintain the stability and reliability of the electricity grid. It is activated manually or semi-automatically by grid operators in response to a disturbance on the grid, such as a sudden loss of generation or an increase in demand. When there are longer-lasting irregularities in the power system that cannot be fixed alone by the other upstream balancing services (FCR or aFRR), this tertiary control reserve steps in.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators of TSO in Europe (ENTSO-E) has developed rules for mFRR that state it must be completely deployable after 12.5 minutes and have a minimum length of 5 minutes. Which Balancing Service Provider (BSP) holds back capabilities and/or supplies the reserve in case of imbalances for each quarter hour is determined by various auctions.

To restore the frequency of the grid, mFRR uses a combination of power plants and other resources that are capable of quickly increasing or decreasing their output. These resources are held in reserve and are only activated when needed to restore the frequency of the grid. Once the frequency has been restored, the mFRR resources are deactivated and returned to their normal operating state.

MARI and Picasso

The European guidelines on electricity balancing call for the creation of European-wide mFRR and aFRR platforms, which are two critical deliverables of the TSOs' projects MARI and PICASSO.

These European platforms were created to improve the effectiveness of energy balancing across the continent and to integrate balancing energy markets, allowing for the trading of mFRR and aFRR balancing energy while improving operational security.

MARI stands for Manually Activated Reserves Initiative and has been operational since October 2022. It is the European platform for mFRR or tertiary reserve steering. The goal is similar to PICASSO in that it specifies activation and operational parameters for devices with a ramp-up time of 12.5 minutes.

Picasso (Platform for the International Coordination of Automated Frequency Restoration and Stable System Operation) is the European platform for steering aFRR or secondary reserve. The goal is to build an international trading platform for aFRR. On a global scale, that means devices with ramp-up times of up to 7.5 minutes or 5 minutes by December 2024. PICASSO's initial launch date was June 1, 2022.

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What is the bigger picture?

With a fully functional internal energy market, different European countries with different national energy systems will be able to trade on pan-European platforms. This allows smaller players to participate and makes trading more efficient. The EU believes that by providing market-based incentives for green energy generation, a competitive internal energy market will enable the EU's transition to clean energy.

It also believes that a free internal market will enable energy consumers to become more active participants in the energy market. This could imply generating their own electricity, investing in energy storage, or investigating demand-side response. It could also imply making better use of demand-side flexibility; technology allows customers to adjust demand to reduce costs and carbon emissions.

How can I participate in ancillary services?

As an energy asset owner, you may be interested in finding ways to create more value from your assets. Nano Energies has expertise in ancillary services and can help you optimize the operation of your assets and increase their value. By partnering with us, you can take advantage of our advanced technology and expertise to make informed decisions about how to best manage your energy assets. If you want to learn more about how we can help you, don't hesitate to contact us for more information. We would be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you may have.

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