Harnessing Flexibility

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What does energy flexibility mean to you?

Written by Fiona Bell
October 6, 2017

 

At the end of September 2017, National Grid announced that this summer was Britain’s greenest ever! More than half of the electricity produced in the UK came from low carbon sources – renewable energy or nuclear power. Furthermore, as the country continues to phase out old coal and gas plants and replace these with renewable generation, future seasons are expected to continue the trend set this summer. 

That’s great news for the environment! However, the intermittent and unpredictable nature of wind and solar means fast-acting flexible power is needed to maintain the national grid balance, essentially ensuring the lights stay on!

Where is this flexibility going to come from?

In recent years, you may have heard talk of Grid Edge technology. It’s a term our CEO: Peter Bance uses frequently. However, have you ever wondered what Grid Edge means? The term covers the different types of technology that are springing up outside the traditional structure of the electricity grid. Historically in Britain, a small number of large power plants have been connected to the transmission system – these power plants were scheduled to produce energy as demand required.

Grid Edge refers to the proximity of innovative technology to the end customer. These range from: smart controls in buildings, rooftop solar, energy storage systems or software that allow businesses to aggregate power and sell it to National Grid – these technologies create flexibility in demand. Smaller power generation and storage systems are also connected to the distribution network. Electricity consumers are now able to generate, store and use electricity to manage their own electricity demand and potentially help National Grid balance the system. 

What does this mean if you are a large industrial and commercial customer?

The flexibility you have on your site at peak times is worth money. Whether it is a standby generator, storage facility or the way you use electricity, you can use these assets to reduce your billing costs and potentially access the revenue incentives offered by National Grid and others.

The market is changing. If you would like to explore flexibility options for your site and understand how you can reduce your overall electricity cost, or simply want to learn more about flexibility, please get in touch.

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