On track to support demand side response

Some of the UK’s biggest energy consumers are supporting plans to boost the use of demand side measures. Russell Fleetwood, Generation Manager at London Underground, explains how and why his company is getting on board.

The Tube is the biggest power consumer in London, and has the largest private power network in the country. So we’re well-placed to reduce our demand, which is why we signed up for one of the new innovative demand response services: Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) run by National Grid.

Through DSBR London Underground is able to offer 55MW of demand reduction.

DSBR makes use of our own stand-alone emergency back-up supply at the Greenwich Power Station. The power station, which dates back to 1902 and was originally built to provide power for London’s Tram network, is currently used exclusively as a back-up for the Tube network. Should normal supplies be interrupted, it would be called upon to help with the safe evacuation of passengers and staff, so it needs to be 100 per cent available at all times.

Similarly, we can use Greenwich to reduce our reliance on National Grid’s power. Through DSBR we are able to offer a significant demand reduction of 55MW, and can quickly respond by switching to Greenwich’s five gas turbines for the length of time required.

Being more efficient

Being on call for means we are able to utilise one of our older assets – though we have to also be aware that we have to look after it, and not run it into the ground! Currently, the Greenwich power station is used between 200 and 300 hours a year, but that’s about to change as it undergoes a major revamp which will see new more efficient and cleaner gas engines installed.

Taking advantage of demand side response has been a positive experience for London Underground.

Reducing carbon emissions is part of TfL’s overall strategy and the new engines will provide a steady source of cheap, low-carbon power for London’s Tube network.Work is also being done to explore how the scheme could generate cheaper energy for people in London too. The waste heat produced could be used for heating water, and this would be pumped to homes connected up to the system.

The benefits to business

Taking advantage of demand side response has been a positive experience for London Underground. It’s enabled us to make use of an existing asset, as well as creating additional revenue – and that can only be good for stakeholders and Tube users alike. It’s a very, very, positive project for London.

I’m sure demand side response is something that will have to grow in the future to help smooth out customer demand and to help reduce carbon emissions. We’re fully supportive of that at London Underground.