In the energy sector, dispatch is the operational planning of power plants. It is the process in which transmission system operators decide which power plants and generation plants are used to meet current electricity demand. This involves optimising costs and efficiency while ensuring security of supply. On the other hand, there is redispatch, a process for adjusting electricity generation at short notice in order to avoid or eliminate bottlenecks in the power grid.
In Germany, power plant operators are generally required to participate in dispatch if their installed capacity is greater than 10 MW and they are connected to the grid. They must inform transmission system operators what capacities they are planning for the following day through their power plant, for example whether they are running at partial or full load. The planned energy production is determined for every quarter of an hour of the following day.

The dispatch process includes monitoring grid stability and taking into account supply and demand on the electricity market. Deployment planning decisions are usually made on the basis of short-term forecasts that take into account the expected electricity demand and the available capacities of power plants and generation plants.

The dispatch is therefore an important part of the energy management system and has direct effects on electricity prices and security of electricity supply.

What is the function of the dispatch?

Dispatch has the function of planning and optimizing the use of power plants to generate electricity in order to ensure a reliable and cost-effective power supply. The power generation of power plants in the grid is controlled in such a way that the demand for electricity is met at all times and the grid remains stable. For this purpose, information on electricity consumption and the available capacities of power generators is collected and analyzed in real time. Specifically, dispatch is about designing power plant operation in such a way that the requested amount of electricity can be provided at any time while minimizing the costs of operating the power plants.

Various factors such as demand for electricity, available energy sources, operating costs, grid connection and environmental requirements are taken into account. Based on this information, it is decided which power plants must produce how much electricity to maintain the balance in the grid.

Dispatch plays an important role in securing the energy supply and the stability of the power grid. Without this central control and monitoring, the network can be overloaded, but there may also be an undersupply, resulting in potential power outages and other faults.

The role of renewable energy in dispatch

Renewable energies play an important role in dispatch because, due to their variable availability and feeding into the power grid, they represent a particular challenge for power plant deployment planning, making it more complex. The supply of renewable energy is highly volatile and difficult to predict. Therefore, various factors such as weather forecasts, availability of energy sources, planned maintenance, and demand for electricity must be considered when planning the dispatch.
Renewable energies are preferred when planning dispatch, as they have lower variable operating costs compared to fossil-powered power plants and are therefore more economical. They also make an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and achieving climate goals.