Your guide to the Demand Side Response market

Partner Content

If you’re a larger manufacturer, chances are you’re already implementing some energy saving measures and reporting through schemes such as SECR (Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting). You may even be generating your own renewable energy.

But are you profiting from your heavy energy usage? Demand Side Response could be your newest, practically passive, income stream.

What is Demand Side Response?

The UK’s electricity system has changed dramatically over the past decade, with renewables increasingly contributing to the energy mix. However, one thing hasn’t changed: the need for electricity supply to always meet demand.

Matching electricity supply to demand is crucial to keeping the grid stable. But this is challenging in a system increasingly dependent on intermittent renewables, like wind and solar, that are unable to generate power in unfavourable weather conditions.

Demand Side Response (DSR) offers a solution to maintaining the balance by creating flexibility in demand.

Businesses can participate in the DSR markets by reducing their electricity consumption when demand is high or increasing it when supply outweighs demand. Generators can also take part by increasing supply at a moment’s notice when demand spikes.

DSR markets allow businesses to not only help the grid operate reliably but also enable them to generate revenue and reduce electricity costs across the supply chain.

Manufacturers can use electrical equipment to build flexibility into the grid

DSR isn’t a case of businesses and facilities shuttering operations at the sudden request of National Grid. Instead, it’s about understanding the controllability of electrical assets and optimising their performance around peaks and troughs in power demand in a way that also helps stabilise the grid.

Flexible assets include:

  • Heating, drying and cooling process machinery
  • Cold storage and refrigeration
  • Air separation processes
  • Combined Heat and Power units
  • Pumps, motors and engines
  • Self-generation, such as solar panels, wind turbines and storage batteries.

Take the example of cold storage as an asset with ‘flexibility’.

“Freezers need to be chilled to between -10 and -20°C, and typically run at about -15°C,” explained Drax Energy Services team member, Michael Watts.

“If you switch off the power to those freezers for an hour the temperature only drops by a few degrees Celsius, remaining within their working parameters. This makes cold store freezing ideal for optimisation services, and there are many other assets which have similar capabilities.”

Which businesses can take part in DSR?

In the simplest terms, organisations with energy-intensive day-to-day operations, which have a significant financial incentive to avoid peak electricity costs, can benefit from the DSR market.

However, DSR markets are also open to smaller electricity consumers and generators. What’s important is the flexibility of your electrical assets – both power consuming and generating.

DSR participants must be able to shift their level of electricity demand up or down often within seconds of the grid’s request.

Meeting these requirements can depend on technology that enables organisations to automate their electrical assets to respond immediately to grid needs.

Other technologies, such as batteries, that can immediately discharge power to grid or absorb and store excess electricity, providing valuable instantaneous power inertia to the grid. Batteries, both up-stream and behind-the-meter are expected to play an important role in balancing an increasingly intermittent power system.

What DSR markets are there?

There are a range of markets which can offer revenue to power users’ meters on a half-hourly bases, if they’re able to successfully operate DSR on their site.

As the grid continues to adapt to one more heavily based on renewable sources, what’s needed is evolving, with new opportunities emerging for organisations with responsive assets.

How can I get started to support DSR?

Expert energy partners like Drax will help organisations identify opportunities in the DSR market.

By analysing your electric machinery, equipment, and other assets, reviewing your operations and energy usage, experts collaborate with you to understand the controllability of your assets. Once we’ve identified the opportunity, we’ll then manage your flexibility and guarantee a fixed cost saving upfront.

It’s important to remember that even when you’re established as a DSR provider, you still have ultimate control over how you use power. Balancing the grid never comes at the cost to your businesses.

Want to know more? Reach out now to find out if your organisation has the potential to provide grid flexibility and generate revenue from the DSR market.