Understanding is the key to Demand Response

Flexibility can be found in any industrial space. And here at REstore – Europe’s largest aggregator – we operate Demand Response programmes at 125 sites across Belgium, UK and France, connecting industrial consumers and utilities. But we always stress that a core understanding of the manufacturing processes is imperative to effectively implement a Demand Response strategy.

For the past five years, REstore has been successfully collaborating with Europe’s largest power consumers on Demand Response (DR) – including working in some of the most acutely sensitive operating environments.

Every organisation – no matter what the sector – has flexibility within its processes. However, the key to successfully realising an organisation’s Demand Response capabilities on an industrial site is to gain a thorough understanding of its manufacturing process.

There’s also a need for a deep understanding of which parts of that process can be stopped, without it impacting the core business.

Once you have this knowledge, you can identify the conditions which underpin the flexibility and availability of the assets located on any site – and how this can be realised.

The importance of trust

At REstore, our experts work with energy managers to engage with operations and plant managers on Demand Response initiatives, identifying the flexibility inherent within all business operations. Power availability profiles are analysed in real-time within REstore’s technology FlexpondTM. The most popular tool for a commercial and industrial consumer working with REstore is its Flexprovider Cockpit, which demonstrates with full transparency all the KPIs of that particular consumer, such as revenue streams, power curtailment and reduction of CO² emissions.

The key to a successful DR partnership is trust, because strong industrial expertise is imperative to ensure a successfully implemented solution that poses no risk to core business objectives.

Technology is key

REstore’s work has shown that a DR service can provide both payments and CO2 savings to commercial and industrial consumers. We have experts happy to work alongside a company’s own team to identify curtailment potential. The flexibility of each asset is then assessed against all DR Services and requirements, which enables REstore to maximise revenue for each individual asset.

REstore then makes this power available with an algorithm which fits the most complimentary set of industrial consumers. It then uses Flexpond TM, the cloud-based automated platform, to manage FlexPower within these businesses on a second-by-second basis. The software logs and monitors data, reorganising the delivery profile more than five times a minute in order to ensure power delivery is in line with the needs of the grid.

FlexpondTM ensures that businesses remain in control at all times, so there is no impact from lost production or a reduction in the quality of products or services. It also ensures the balance between availability and business needs does not result in the erosion of revenues through uncertainty in the forecast.

One company benefiting from our systems is frozen foods firm Pinguin Foods, based in King’s Lynn, Norfolk

We analyse the temperature of the company’s cold stores and the power consumption of the compressors on a second-by-second basis. When the internal environment can accommodate a short power reduction, Pinguin is paid for this availability and participation in a power activation portfolio. There is no impact on product quality and no impact on the core business objectives.

The European challenge

Europe’s DR needs aren’t driven by summertime peak loads as they are in the States. Europe does have some wintertime electric heating loads but the bigger drivers are the second-by-second system-wide effects of the continent’s growing share of intermittent wind and solar power.

This requires real-time dynamic balancing in order to deliver a valuable solution to European Grid operators, a challenge that has become more pronounced as the share of renewable power in the generating mix increases. Advanced control of this dynamic response is the key to unlocking this value.

While delivering these requirements, an organisation still remains in full control of its assets, meaning that a DR activation will never take place when it isn’t permitted. All boundary conditions are monitored, meaning the recalibration happens automatically without any risk on production. At Pinguin Foods, this is achieved automatically. And by using a sophisticated user interface, REstore provides updates and full visibility.

Knowledge and Technology

REstore is able to deliver ‘win-win’ solutions across all industrial and commercial sectors – from steel, paper, plastics and petrochemical manufacturing to cold store, bank and office building environments – integrating seamlessly with all other power saving and cost reduction initiatives in Europe.

This enables organisations to sweat their assets and enter all types of DR markets including frequency response, balancing reserves, capacity markets and even just cost avoidance schemes.

We’ve had five years of proven implementation and forecastable financial return so far, with customers like ArcelorMittal, Sappi and Total already benefiting from our work. There really is no longer any excuse for businesses not to become Demand Responsive.