Power Responsive Customer Snapshot

17 Jun 2019

Following publication of the Power Responsive Annual Report for 2018 in April, we are pleased to share the Customer Snapshot – a shortened version of the report intended to be a succinct overview of the key take-away points for demand side providers.

The snapshot covers the key developments impacting demand side flexibility and market trends reflecting the direction of travel for flexibility markets.

Both the Customer Snapshot and full Annual Report can be downloaded from the links below.

Steering Group Meeting – 2nd May 2019

04 Jun 2019

Power Responsive’s 15th Steering Group meeting took place on 2nd May 2019. Discussions focused on unlocking demand side flexibility through code reforms– considering the various codes that currently underpin the energy industry, how they are governed, and their complex interactions. Steering group members then discussed potential changes to codes and governance structures to better enable demand side flexibility. 

The meeting summary has now been published and is available to download from the following link:

Power Responsive Summer Reception 2019

10 May 2019

Registrations to the 2019 Power Responsive Summer Reception are now open. Taking place on 26th June at Old Billingsgate, London – the reception will focus on ‘achieving low carbon ambitions’ with an afternoon Flexibility Forum, and an evening drinks reception. 

Power Responsive Annual Report 2018

08 Apr 2019

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Power Responsive Annual Report for 2018.  The report has been designed for an audience with a good understanding of demand side flexibility (DSF) and serves. 

Covering Power Responsive’s objectives of raising awareness, building confidence and supporting the evolution of demand side markets, the report provides an overview of programme activities, industry developments, and detailed market metrics in 2018.

The report builds upon previous version allowing for a greater comparison the 2017, therefore painting an emerging picture of the direction in which demand side participation and prices are headed.   

We’d like to thank Sustainability First for their support in preparing the report, and to all who contributed their time at metrics steering groups.

Steering Group Meeting – 30th January 2019

27 Feb 2019

Power Responsive’s 14th Steering Group meeting took place on 30th January 2019. Discussions focused on supporting DSF providers through the current period of uncertainty and policy change, and considered how the requirements and value of flexibility may change over time.

The meeting summary and discussion has now been published and is available to download from the following link:

Flexibility Forum – Autumn 2018

14 Nov 2018

Following the Power Responsive Flexibility Forum on Tuesday 23rd October at the Crystal – London, we’re pleased to share the forum summary and slide packs from the day’s presentations.  Updates were given from:

  • BEIS and Ofgem, with detail of how actions have progressed against the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, as well as a Network Access and Charging updates from Ofgem.
  • Updates form National Grid ESO on Balancing Reforms, Wider Access to the BM, Project TERRE, Whole System approaches, and access to innovation funding.
  • A look at the Code of Conduct for Aggregators from the Association of Decentralised Energy.

Please download the forum summary using the link below:

Steering Group Meeting – 3rd October 2018

Power Responsive’s 13th Steering Group meeting took place on 3rd October 2018.  Discussions focused on ‘current barriers to demand side flexibility’, ensuring that barriers are clearly understood and being addressed.

The steering group reflected on actions taken over the last 2-3 years and identified remaining barriers to demand side flexibility and potential solutions.

The meeting summary and discussion snapshot have now been published and are available to download from the following links:

Student accommodation helps solve energy challenge

Thanks to an innovative partnership approach to demand side response (DSR), Oxford Brookes is unlocking vital flexibility from its student accommodation blocks. It’s all part of a wider sustainability strategy to leave a positive mark on the world. Gavin Hodgson, Energy and Carbon Reduction Specialist at Oxford Brookes explains.

Oxford Brookes is currently ranked as one of the best modern universities in the UK, topping The Sunday Times’ rankings of modern universities for 11 of the past 12 years. The university serves over 17,000 students from three main campuses in and around Oxford so it’s not surprising that we face a fairly hefty energy bill of around £2.4 million per year.

Of course we’d rather be spending this money on improving our campus and equipment, so we are always looking at ways we can reduce our energy use and become more sustainable.

Positive contribution

At Oxford Brookes, we believe sustainability is a defining issue of our generation. To ensure we respond appropriately we’ve adopted a Net Positive Impact approach. This is a holistic approach designed to help us go beyond reducing our negative impacts and identify ways in which we can make an explicit and verifiable overall positive contribution to society and the environment.

The pioneering DSR project we have worked on with Open Energi and Prefect Controls is a perfect example of this in action. Yes, we’re seeing direct benefits by way of revenue for participating in DSR, but equally it’s enabling us to have an impact beyond our estate and help drive positive change in the electricity system as a whole; supporting greater use of renewables, cutting our reliance on fossil fuelled power stations and creating a smarter, more efficient network.

We were the first university in the UK to take advantage of a new partnership between Open Energi and Prefect Controls to unlock real-time flexibility from student accommodation. It’s the first time Open Energi has implemented its technology via a third party and it will enable multiple smaller loads, like 4kW water heaters and 1.5kW panel heaters, to participate in Dynamic Frequency Response, which is very exciting.

We’re seeing direct benefits by way of revenue for participating in DSR, but equally it’s enabling us to have an impact beyond our estate and help drive positive change in the electricity system as a whole.

For us it was a relatively straightforward process as we already had Prefect Controls’ Prefectirus energy management system installed. We’ve been using it since 2014 to help us reduce energy use across our student accommodation blocks. For example, if the heating is left on in a student bedroom which is empty, the system will spot this and turn it down automatically.

Open Energi is able to connect with our equipment via Prefect Controls’ network and ask heaters and hot water tanks in our student accommodation blocks to automatically and invisibly shift their energy consumption to help National Grid balance electricity supply and demand across the country. By aggregating flexible demand from our student accommodation and making this available in real-time we are helping to build a smarter, more sustainable energy system for the UK.

Success leads to growth

We started late last year by trialling the technology across 5 water tanks providing hot water to 30 student rooms. We had no issues whatsoever and most importantly, neither did any of our students. Because equipment can only respond if it is within its normal operating parameters i.e. temperature bands, there’s no risk of water getting too hot or too cold.

Off the back of this success, we have signed a 10-year agreement with Open Energi. Our aim is to integrate DSR across a total of 71 tanks with a second phase planned to target 300 panel heaters, representing over 700kW in total.

We’re really proud of the role we’re playing in helping to transform our energy system and hope what we have done will encourage other universities to follow suit. Electrically heated student accommodation uses an estimated 378MW of power so imagine the impact if we could tap into it all.

Costain develops new demand response solutions

Engineering solutions provider Costain works on some of UK’s most demanding infrastructure projects, including the capital’s ambitious Crossrail programme. In 2014 it launched the COdemand venture to help customers tap into the potential of the demand side. As Sustainable Solutions Advisor Christopher Hills explains, it represents a growing opportunity.

Whether we are delivering a complex rail infrastructure project or managing assets for our customers in the water sector, energy security is a big issue.

With around 15% of the UK’s total electricity demand met through grid balancing at present there is a clear opportunity for demand response to provide a cheaper and cleaner solution. At the same time lots of businesses are unaware that they could harness their existing assets more effectively.

Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) represents a total of about 2GW of reserve (or backup energy) that can be called on at short notice if there is a sudden loss of power anywhere on the system.

It’s a relatively new area for Costain, but already we’re seeing a lot of interest and that’s why we established COdemand– a portfolio of solutions in this arena – as a way of helping customers get smarter about how they manage their energy loads.

Partnerships in place

To combine our own sector knowledge with wider demand side expertise we created two partnerships. The first is with Open Energi to offer their Dynamic Demand solution that fine tunes organisations’ power consumption and gives more flexibility to manage the electricity network. We have since expanded the portfolio through a second agreement with Flexitricity to offer Frontline (Frequency Control by Demand Management), STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve), Footroom (Negative Reserve) and the Capacity Market.

To date we are working with customers in two specific sectors – water and rail – although there are very clear applications for demand response technology in other areas of our work, including oil and gas, highways and the power sector.

Our teams are often working side-by-side with customers at their sites and so have first-hand knowledge of how assets might be used more efficiently. Applicable assets include heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; boilers, pumps, fans, UPSs and back-up generators. Some of our customers also operate combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

Scale isn’t everything

One of the myths about demand response is that it is only relevant to the very largest businesses with manufacturing plants spread across multiple sites. We’re saying to customers: “This is something that every company can play a part in.”

As an example we are employing Dynamic Demand technology at our own head office in Maidenhead. Dynamic Demand linked to the HVAC system at Costain House and is operating 365 days a year, allowing corrective action to be taken in response to changes in grid frequency.

One of the other benefits of the technology is that it provides a second-by-second analysis of electricity use so that energy efficiencies can be identified, potentially cutting energy costs and reducing CO2 output.

One of the myths about demand response is that it is only relevant to the very largest businesses.

Towards Smarter Cities

Taking a longer-term perspective, there is plenty of debate about creating Smart Cities and how technology can drive society towards improved sustainability. Certainly we believe that demand response has a part to play.

When we introduce customers to the idea we sometimes talk about the concept of constructing a virtual power station – one built to run ultra-efficiently and provide electricity exactly when needed. When set against the cost, environmental impact and time needed to build entirely new power stations, the benefits of demand response are clear.

So, where next? While industry accounts for a significant slice of UK energy consumption, (about 16% in 2013), domestic consumption stands at around 29%, so to realise the full potential of demand response the way we use energy at home is the next big opportunity. The advent of smart meters offers a glimpse of what is possible, but unlocking the full potential of the domestic market still has a long way to go.

Steering Group Meeting – 5th July 2018

31 Jul 2018

The 12th Power Responsive Steering Group meeting took place on 5th July 2018 with discussions focusing on ‘the potential DSF contribution from cities, local authorities, and electric vehicles’, including:

  • What are the main opportunities and challenges
  • How do we unlock the potential of these assets for flexibility
  • What initiatives are taking place to trial flexibility from these sources

The meeting summary and discussion snapshot have now been published and are available to download from the following links: