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Utilitas is the first Estonian company whose device was recognized by Elering as a manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR) provider that meets the requirements of the European frequency control platform. The frequency control reserves are of decisive importance for connecting the electricity systems of the Baltic countries to the European frequency area in February 2025.

At the beginning of next year, the electricity systems of the Baltic countries will be connected to the continental European frequency area for security reasons. According to the CEO of Elering, Kalle Kilk, the process includes, in addition to extensive grid development work, years of cooperation between countries to be ready to ensure the necessary frequency in the new situation, which is one of the most important parameters of the reliability of the electricity system and which, in today's situation, when Estonia and the Baltic countries belong to the common frequency area with Russia, is controlled from Russia.

"The joining of the Baltic electricity systems to the synchronous area of continental Europe will lead to a fundamental change in the entire balancing arrangement of the Baltic electricity systems, as a result of which the Baltic system operators will create the ability to take responsibility for frequency control themselves," said Kalle Kilk, chairman of the board of Elering. "Reserves are important from another aspect as well – greater flexibility to operate the electricity system is also needed considering the growing share of renewable energy, as the unpredictability and forecast error in the system increases," said Kilk.

As the first project, Utilitas currently offers a service to the Baltic common balancing market by switching on and off the consumption of a 7-megawatt electric boiler according to whether the consumption needs to be increased or decreased for the balance of the electricity system. The boiler is connected to the district heating network, which means that the inertia of the district heating system can be used to balance the electricity system.

"Synchronisation of the electricity system of the Baltic States with continental Europe is a big task to which all market participants should contribute according to their capabilities. We believe that the solutions based on the cooperation between different energy sectors make the energy system more efficient, flexible, and reliable and help to carry out the transition to an economy with a low-carbon footprint in the most economical way," said Priit Koit, CEO of the Utilitas group.

The platform of the Scener OÜ, which provides balance and portfolio management services for energy companies, enables the Utilitas electric boiler to access to mFRR market. According to the company's CEO Kaido Veldemann, helping Utilitas' flexible assets to market and going through Elering's pre-qualification process was also an exciting challenge for Scener. "In addition to mFRR market offers, we also help optimize day-ahead and intraday markets," added Veldemann.

After joining the continental European frequency area, pan-European digital market platforms will be used for common frequency control, which collect all reserve offers and optimize the activation of reserves, achieving the greatest socio-economic benefits; to join the market platforms, the reserve provider must complete the pre-qualification process. Elering, together with other Baltic system operators, joins MARI and PICASSO, the market platforms aggregating energy bids from the European balancing markets, aimed at operating the energy bids of manual Frequency Restoration Reserve (mFRR) and automatic Frequency Restoration Reserve (aFRR), respectively. Joining the MARI platform will take place in October this year and joining the PICASSO platform will take place at the end of the year.

The Baltic system operators verify the ability of frequency reserve providers to provide the service with a jointly developed pre-qualification process. Technical pre-qualification is a prerequisite for participation in the markets of the European energy platforms MARI and PICASSO and it also gives the right to participate in the Baltic FCR (Frequency Control Reserve), aFRR, and mFRR capacity markets that are to be created.

Utilitas was the first in Estonia to receive approval of compliance with the requirements to participate in the balancing market's energy bidding platform MARI with manual frequency restoration reserve bids. Other similar consumers in Estonia are also welcome to offer flexibility to the Estonian electricity system.

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