Companies can now throw their hat into the ring for payments to cut the amount of energy they take from the grid.
The National Grid today called for tenders for two new balancing services to make sure there is enough power for the country over the next few winters.
This is what the grid operator already does with some firms on a much smaller scale.
The first – called Demand Side Balancing Reserve service (DSBR) – is looking to sign up large energy users who have the flexibility to reduce their electricity use.
They would be needed when demand is at its highest between 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays.
National Grid wants to drum up as much as 330MW of power for the DSBR in winter 2014/15.
This can include switching to back-up generation and will be in return for a payment, on a purely voluntary basis.
For the following winter (2015/16) it wants to find even more firms able to cut power, up to 1,800MW worth, from another round of the DBSR and a second type of balancing.
This is for power plants which would otherwise be closed or mothballed and is called Supplemental Balancing Reserve. They would need to be on call for longer, on winter weekdays between 6am and 8pm.
Peter Bingham, leading the scheme for National Grid said: “It’s our job as electricity system operator to make sure we’ve got all the right tools at our disposal to balance supply and demand on the electricity network, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“For winter 2014/15 we are inviting providers of demand side response services to offer a small volume of demand reduction capability to pilot the new DSBR service.
“For winter 2015/16, we will tender for both services. This offers generators an incentive to make their power stations available in winter where they might otherwise be unavailable.”