SågFlex provides sawmills and suppliers with knowledge about how they can contribute to a flexible electricity grid. The project will show how sawmills can use batteries and demand flexibility to contribute to balancing the electricity grid.
SågFlex will provide sawmills and suppliers with knowledge on how they, jointly, can contribute to the flexible electricity grid of the future. SågFlex will lower the threshold for sawmills to offer flexibility services in the electricity grid, which is a relatively new and complex topic. The project will show how sawmills can use batteries, flexibility services and advanced digitalisation to enable improved production planning and thus reduce their electricity costs.
The background to the project is that Sweden's electricity demand is expected to increase significantly in the coming years, and that renewable electricity accounts for an increasing share of the electricity production. This will create new problems with balancing the electricity grid, which can be partially mitigated with flexible electricity consumption and batteries that can act as a buffer. SågFlex shows how sawmills can contribute to a lower load on the electricity grid by reducing the use of electrical energy and cutting electricity peaks.
In Sweden, a new view is now emerging on how industry can contribute with ancillary services to the grid, for example by redirecting production or using batteries. Sawmills can make cost savings by adjusting production to times when pressure on the energy system is not at its highest. Large-scale energy storage batteries and new business models around them have emerged as a new industry. In addition to providing flexibility services to grid owners, these batteries can also be used to gain better control over power consumption and utilise electricity price arbitrage. Battery prices have fallen sharply in recent years as technology advances and battery reuse has increased. Sawmills and other small and medium-sized industrial companies have traditionally not worked with this problem. Therefore, customised knowledge on how this industry can adopt this new technology is needed, as well as demonstrations of how the technology works in different applications.
SågFlex builds on previous projects on energy efficiency and energy management at sawmills, such as Energy Efficiency in the Sawmill Industry (EESI) and Energy Control by Information Flow (Ecoinflow). EESI was a national project that ran from 2010 to 2015 that concretised how energy use in the sawmill industry can be reduced. Ecoinflow (2012-2015) was a European project with the aim of developing tailor-made energy management systems for sawmills with participants from nine countries and including 50 sawmills. The project produced a handbook for energy management in sawmills and a tool for benchmarking sawmills.