Water firm turns off power tap to balance the grid

United Utilities has got a new system to adjust its energy demand to help “balance” out the national grid – and hopes to make £5 million with the technology. It […]

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By ELN reporter

United Utilities has got a new system to adjust its energy demand to help “balance” out the national grid – and hopes to make £5 million with the technology.

It allows power-guzzling equipment on the site to switch off or on in response to changes in electricity supply and demand nationwide.

Andy Pennick, Energy Manager at United Utilities said: “Water and wastewater treatment is a really energy intensive process – power is one of our biggest operating costs – so we’re looking both inside and outside our business to see how we can work smarter. That means using less power and being willing to be flexible in the way we use that power.”

United Utilities has trialled the plan at three sites including Bolton wastewater treatment works.

It is now rolling it out across its North West operations with 10MW set to be available over the next 12 months. Over the next five years the company expects to have a total of 50MW of flexible capacity to offer up to National Grid, reducing carbon emissions by 100,000 tonnes a year.

It is the first company in the North West and the first water firm in the country to sign-up for ‘Dynamic Demand’, according to the firm behind the technology, Open Energi.