Elisa base station

Virtual power plant

Utilising Elisa’s base station backup batteries to support renewable energy generation

Elisa’s distributed virtual power plant improves the resilience of the Finnish grid to disturbances and helps the green transition in electricity generation

Elisa has transformed the backup batteries in its mobile network base stations into a smartly controlled, distributed virtual power plant with a capacity of 150 MWh, which serves as part of the grid balancing reserve for the Finnish electricity grid. This new power plant can be used for rapid-reaction backup power generation in situations where the Finnish grid needs support for balancing, e.g. when the actual production from wind power does not match forecasts or if there is a sudden imbalance between electricity generation and consumption. This Distributed Energy Storage (DES) solution is a clear example of implementing Elisa’s mission – a sustainable future through digitalisation.
Wind power plant

Reserve batteries assisting in green transition

Electricity generation and consumption need to be in balance every single second so that the lights stay on for everyone. The increase in wind and solar power production results in less predictable and manageable energy production. If we are to increase renewable energy generation and advance the green transition, we need reserve capacity for balancing the grid – and using the backup batteries in Elisa’s mobile base stations is one solution for this.

Based on calculated carbon dioxide emissions, Elisa’s DES virtual power plant reduces the carbon emissions from electricity production in Finland by over 20,000 tonnes a year thanks to the reduced need for fossil fuel power to cope with peaks in electricity consumption.

Family at home

Reductions in peak electricity prices

In practice, the DES charges the backup batteries in the base stations at times of low electricity consumption when electricity is cheaper. Those same batteries either power the network or feed electricity back into the grid when electricity consumption is high. By doing this, the virtual power plant balances peaks in electricity consumption and high prices. Lower electricity prices benefit everyone who uses electric power.

Power lines

Improved grid resilience in crisis situations

Elisa has received a permit from Fingrid, the Finnish national electricity transmission system operator, to use the backup batteries in its base stations in the grid balancing market in Finland – the first agreement of its kind anywhere in the world. Elisa’s DES virtual power plant provides a critical source of supply for the Finnish power grid that can be used when there are disturbances in production or during peaks in demand, thereby improving the resilience of the grid in crisis situations.

City view

Export product based on Elisa’s AI expertise

Elisa’s DES virtual power plant is based on combining the backup batteries in all of Elisa’s mobile network base stations into a unified, smartly steered control system that utilises the AI expertise Elisa has developed in managing its data and mobile networks. 

Teleoperators are the world’s second-largest consumer of batteries. Elisa is also offering its Distributed Energy Storage solution to teleoperators in other countries so that they can improve the reliability of their own mobile networks and do their part in accelerating the green transition by investing in a distributed battery reserve and utilising it to provide balancing services in their electricity markets.

Funded by EU - NextGenerationEU

Elisa was granted EUR 3.9 million in EU funding at the beginning of 2023 to enable an accelerated roll-out of the service.