Demand response turns liquid assets into real revenue for Bournemouth Water

With many utility companies already seeing Demand Side Response (DSR) work for them, it was an easy decision for Bournemouth Water to get involved. Energy Adviser, Matthew Burton shares his story.

 At Bournemouth Water, it’s our responsibility to keep the taps on for half a million households and businesses across Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. Each day, we supply 140 million litres of drinking water to our customers.

We have a significant number of sites, most of them running energy-intensive assets such as water pumps, as well as back-up generation. With a corporate commitment to deliver operational excellence, we regularly review our energy use and costs to make sure we are optimising what we do.

It was through this process of continual improvement that we began to explore the opportunities that existed through demand side flexibility.

With many water companies (such as Wessex Water and United Utilities) already seeing the benefits from using their energy in a smarter way, we decided to reach out to one of the UK’s DSR aggregators, KiWi Power, to see how our assets could be best put to work.

Carefully tailored solutions

The company was keen to find the right solution for each of our sites, so it sent down its engineers to investigate. They got to work analysing half-hourly data relating to each site’s energy use and conducted full onsite surveys to see which assets could deliver demand side services. With this information, the company created specially tailored solutions for each site.

The next step was to get the right technology in place, so we could begin to participate. This was done at zero cost to us and with very little disruption. KiWi Power installed its own, in-house developed, second-by-second meters at each of our sites, which would work with our existing high-voltage metering systems.

A wide range of DSR programmes

Bournemouth Water has implemented the flexibility of demand side response while keeping full control of operating its systems within set internal parameters.

Using the new meters, the aggregator remotely monitors and sends signals to our site controllers and Programmable Logic Controller units (PLCs) so we can make an automated decision to use the full range of our demand side assets. It can also send visual signals to our shift workers on site should they need to start local diesel generators or stop scheduled pumping.

Bournemouth Water has implemented the flexibility of demand side response while keeping full control of operating its systems within set internal parameters.

This almost-instant flexibility allows us to take part in a wide range of programmes, namely Frequency Control by Demand Management (FCDM), Static Firm Frequency Response (FFR), Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) and TRIAD avoidance (half hourly settlement periods).

One of the biggest benefits has been the fact that providing DSR doesn’t interfere with the day-to-day running of our sites. This is particularly important because of the critical nature of some of our equipment, particularly our water pumps. If a reservoir is full, for example, it wouldn’t be safe or practical for water pumps to be powered down, or switched off.

Working closely with our aggregator, we were able to build a vital layer of defence behind the DSR controls. Should a signal arrive during a critical time, the system automatically overrides it, putting the business and our customers first.

Feeling the full flow of benefits

Since we began providing DSR, our business has earned regular revenue across the full portfolio of DSR products. Another benefit has been the improved resilience of our generators. Regular testing under our DSR contract means we have total peace of mind that our generators will be fit for purpose during a power cut.

Participating in DSR has proven a good decision. It has provided us with a mechanism to optimise our pump scheduling, put our standby generation assets to good use and earn extra revenue for our business.