DSR: The next chapter of energy efficiency

Many businesses have successfully cut costs in recent years through a focus on reducing electricity consumption. Robert Owens, Vice President of Asset Optimisation, explains the raft of new opportunities emerging in the demand-side space.

National Grid recently said it expects peak electricity demand to reach a record low this summer, citing factors including the cumulative impact of energy efficiency measures for continuing the downward trend seen in peak consumption in recent years. Significant strides in cutting consumption have been achieved by businesses through measures such as investing in LED lighting and more efficient heating and air conditioning systems. In many cases these have been quick wins with rapid payback.

With many of the ‘low hanging fruits’ already picked, those businesses which have been at the forefront on energy efficiency have turned their focus to the financial and sustainability opportunities offered by Demand Side Response (DSR). DSR is really coming into its own as our smarter energy system rapidly evolves and wholesale markets become increasingly volatile. DSR can offer a cheap, clean tool to National Grid to keep the energy system in balance.

It is a ‘win-win’ for businesses as well, offering them the chance to reduce costs and emissions as well as contribute to wider network security and sustainability. In many cases DSR also involves little or no outlay compared to the large spends businesses may be used to for typical efficiency projects.

The best news for businesses is that there are many ways to get involved in DSR, and it’s easy to ramp up from simple participation to complex once the flexibility and processes have been established. Reducing peak costs through managing Triads is perhaps the most basic step and may only require raising awareness among staff and relatively small changes to operations to start to realise the benefits.

For those firms keen to take the next step and actively engage in DSR, there are growing opportunities to exploit flexibility in their operations and processes to provide ancillary services to support the grid. For example, under the Capacity Market businesses can receive payments for manually shifting demand when a potential stress event is forecast on the network. The most advanced businesses are looking at the long-term opportunities of using their consumption as an asset in the balancing and energy markets.

There are many options available here that a supplier can help to identify. As the market becomes more volatile, optimising intraday energy prices is an area that we are seeing a growing interest in. Our recent webinar looked in much more detail at the opportunities DSR presents with practical examples of how businesses can get involved and how the benefits stack up – see the recording below.

Along with the clear financial advantages of participating in DSR, the sustainability benefits add up to create a strong business case for forward-thinking, responsible companies.

Read about how our customer Saint-Gobain UK saved £165,000 through a Triad management campaign here.

Watch our latest webinar: strong non-financial benefits for doing DSR.