Businesses urged to tap into flexibility benefits

Decarbonising the economy also offers significant opportunities for UK businesses to boost their competitiveness, according to a new report.

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) and RenewableUK examined how industrial energy users and renewables generators are working with the system operator to balance the grid.

They looked at how intensive users are being flexible by ramping up or decreasing their demand on the grid when it is most needed, in response to a signal or incentive.

They concluded that companies can boost the competitiveness of industry and help the UK to achieve its decarbonisation targets through active participation in the energy market.

Reduced energy bills for businesses

Tim Rotheray, Director at the ADE, said: “A more flexible power system creates a stable power grid, which can then accommodate more renewable energy to meet our decarbonisation targets at least cost.

“The industrial energy users providing flexibility also benefit with lower energy bills and increased competitiveness when operating in a decarbonising global economy.”

RenewableUK Chief Executive Hugh McNeal added: “This report highlights the exciting new opportunities on offer to British businesses, and especially British industry, to get paid for being adaptable and flexible in how much electricity they use and when they consume it.

“As a result, they can reduce their energy bills, and they can support the deployment of cheaper low carbon electricity generation, creating jobs, attracting investment and helping us to fulfil our climate goals.”

On-site generation and battery storage

As well as varying the times as which they use energy, companies can also contribute to grid balancing through the use of “on-site efficient generation” and battery storage technology.

The report recommended introducing industrial forums to increase the transparency surrounding the products and services on offer from the system operator.

It also called on the UK Government to create a level playing field to encourage greater competition between supply and demand response options in the balancing services, ancillary services and the Capacity Market.

James Graham, Head of Sales in SmartestEnergy’s Asset Optimisation team, recently wrote a blog explaining why businesses need to change the way they view and use energy to take advantage of the flexibility opportunity.

> Download the report