Energy intensive businesses in Britain could divert £1 billion from power generators to themselves by making their spare energy supplies available to the grid – or by lowering their energy demand.
That’s according to new figures calculated by demand response firm Open Energi today, based on their technique of tapping into equipment on industrial or commercial sites such as supermarkets.
The devices allow the National Grid to turn power supply off or on, for example on fridges or furnaces, to keep the grid at the right frequency.
Currently large power plants provide the reserve power for the UK – but Open Energi reckons businesses can fill this gap and reduce the need for building new power plants.
They estimate avoiding new plants in this way could save £1.12bn by 2020.
Nigel Fox, Energy Demand Manager at National Grid told journalists at a briefing the service was about “quick instantaneous megawatts” to balance the grid.
When used with bitumen tanks at Aggregate Industries, the software makes calls a few times a day, said the business’s Senior Energy Manager Brian Cairns at the briefing.
The industry man emphasised it wasn’t consuming energy for the sake of it: “But we’re not using deadload that’s not being used.”
“It’s different to many of the traditional demand response technologies as it uses internet to make minor and subtle adjustments,” according to Ged Holmes, Commercial Director for Open Energi.
Unlike STOR, which can ask firms to switch off for hours at a time, typically Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand software prompts equipment to shut down for shorter bursts, with 50% of switches for less than two minutes. Sometimes the switch is up to 30 minutes, while the service responds to calls within two seconds.
Holmes compared it to the traffic management on a motorway, suggesting it was like adjusting the flow of traffic to avoid “adding lanes”.
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