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Demand Side Response


By Erica Hall, Technical Manager at CBx

Demand Management / Demand Response / Demand Side Response, these are variations on a single theme – incentivised load shifting to balance Grid capacity. DSR provides an opportunity for customers to play a significant role in reducing or shifting their electricity consumption during peak periods, ultimately balancing demand with the availability from the Grid and supporting the Grid through energy reserve services. Demand response is broadly categorised in to two areas, Explicit Demand Response (incentive-based / “making money”) and Implicit Demand Response (price-based / “saving money”).

At a recent event the definition was put into simple layman terms; Customers can support the flexibility of the Grid, by switching off some non-essential electric equipment throughout the day which will provide the Grid more capacity to provide during peak loads without the need to generate additional electricity. Moreover, if customers consider when electricity costs are higher, they can save significant amounts of money by reducing loads and avoiding these high prices, customers can even sell to the Grid further reducing their own energy costs.

But how practical is this for all energy consumers? Are we merely reducing loads during some periods but transferring that load elsewhere? What are the carbon impacts of load shifting, capacity markets and balancing reserve services? Is this realistic for domestic markets?

Across Europe the DSR market has been slowly making process but significant challenges have been highlighted. The Smart Energy Demand Coalition has been mapping the progress across 16 EU countries and Norway and Switzerland. The report supports the concerns for a more robust regulatory framework, further opening of balancing markets to include access for independent aggregators in to wholesale markets, local system services, more flexibility product definitions, better verification and measurement procedures.

In the UK Demand Side Response has made good progress in some key areas but there remains significant room for improvement. RIIO by Ofgem supports commercially viable local system services, and the National Grid provides a range of service packages for demand side participation. However, there remains the uncertainty of DSR in the domestic market and the appropriateness in the use of diesel generators for explicit DSR.

This is where the fun comes, the UK Heat Network and Metering regulation could support greater understanding for both supplier and customer on energy demand providing the opportunity for domestic and small commercial DSR. Variations of heating, control and measurement systems are being tested for the domestic market, but customer buy-in is in its infancy stages. Moreover, several CHP systems in both commercial and domestic applications which are either not used or inefficiently used, can provide a significant additional opportunity for DSR.

The National Grid believes that DSR can meet 30-50% of the needed system flexibility.  Improving access to intermittent renewable sources and developing market opportunity for domestic and small commercial DSR can help with this flexibility. Regulation is needed to support these targets.

Join our upcoming CBx breakfast event on June 1st from 08:00 – 10:00 at Bird&Bird for further discussion on Demand Side Response. To sign up click here