Power-to-gas plants and their role in the electricity balancing market

This LAP is concerned with the status of, and legal coverage for, Power to Gas systems operating to provide ancillary services and specifically for demand side load balancing services


Balancing and Ancillary Services Markets. Balancing refers to the situation after markets have closed (gate closure) in which a TSO acts to ensure that demand is equal to supply, in and near real time.
An important aspect of balancing is the approach to procuring ancillary services.
Is it a barrier?
Type of Barrier
Economic barriers
Assessment Severity
The provision of the 3 ancillary services is possible from the technical point of view but very difficult – if not impossible (at the current price finding mechanism) – from the economic point of view


Question 1 Are electrolysers able to participate in the 3 ancillary services? If yes, please specify.
Basically electrolysers are – from the technical point of view – able to participate in the 3 ancillary services BUT– Investment in electrolysers is high, hence there is a need to have a very high workload in order to lower the capital costs per generated unit hydrogen. All 3 ancillary services do not provide a high workload. Now one could say that one could sell the “availability” which is for sure the case but even in such a constellation, an economic operation is probably not feasible because the life span of the stacks would decrease significantly because of thermal strains in the stack material (strongly fluctuating workload) for high temperature electrolysers and for the membrane of an electrolyser which operates at relatively low temperatures (< 80°C). Therefore such an application would require storage possibilities for the hydrogen. To store hydrogen is relatively costly. Having said this, employment of electrolysers for the provision of the 3 ancillary services in Austria is probably not a very good economic choice at the current material properties respectively the used approach in the ancillary services, namely to offer a very low commitment charge and bill high prices if the service is needed so for the commodity volume
Describe the comparable technology and its relevance with regard to hydrogen
Not applicable

National legislation:

EU Legislation:

  • Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency
    This Directive establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the Union in order to ensure the achievement of the Union’s 2020 20 % headline target on energy efficiency and to pave the way for further energy efficiency improvements beyond that date.

    It lays down rules designed to remove barriers in the energy market and overcome market failures that impede efficiency in the supply and use of energy and provides for the establishment of indicative national energy efficiency targets for 2020.
  • Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2195 establishing a guideline on electricity balancing
    This Regulation lays down a detailed guideline on electricity balancing including the establishment of common principles for the procurement and the settlement of frequency containment reserves, frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves and a common methodology for the activation of frequency restoration reserves and replacement reserves.