The University of Edinburgh uses the CCS framework to set up a first class demand side response operation

LocationEdinburgh
AssetsCombined heat and power and standby diesel generators
ServicesCapacity Market, Footroom, STOR and triad management
Revenue & savings£90,000 per annum (estimated to reach £200,000 in 2019)
Capacity5.73MW (+ 7MW expected to come on-line in 2018 / 2019)

As one of the most prestigious higher education establishments in the world, the University of Edinburgh needs no introduction. Now, this ancient learning hub that opened its doors to the first students in 1583, is embracing the distinctly modern world of demand side response - and is inspiring other public sector organisations to follow suit.

The University of Edinburgh and Flexitricity

David Jack, Energy Manager at the University of Edinburgh, details the key drivers for getting involved in demand side response: “We could see that we were paying more in certain parts of our bills to support market changes so similarly we should benefit from the opportunities generated too. The process is worthwhile. It shows that we are exploring every available avenue to make our energy as low priced as possible and that we are engaging with the energy supply chain in every way that we can. It also shows that we are an exemplar to other public organisations.”

The University partnered with Flexitricity back in 2015 for short-term operating reserve (STOR) delivery and triad management, following a tendering process via the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework. Last year saw some exciting new developments when the process to participate in the Capacity Market and Footroom was kick-started. The University is also connecting up new CHP assets to complement their existing portfolio of diesel generators.

According to David Jack working with Flexitricity has always been very easy. “They are a very professional organization who make themselves very easy to work with. Triad rebates in excess of £50K per annum are good to see. Especially in the knowledge that the process could be repeated in other areas of the campus. Personally seeing the Flexitricity control room, and all that goes into turning an idea into a viable operational product that benefits National Grid, was very interesting.”

Footroom

Flexitricity Footroom (often also referred to as demand turn-up) is Britain’s first system for making use of excess wind power - we pay our Energy Partners (like the University of Edinburgh) to increase consumption or reduce generation at their sites, so that National Grid doesn’t have to pay wind farms to shut down. It’s a win for the environment and a win for the balance sheet – an attractive proposition for any public sector organisation.

Footroom works in conjunction with all other Flexitricity balancing and peak management services and is an ideal fit for CHPs, small hydro, and a wide range of flexible energy users.

The future

The University is investing in energy efficiency across their estate and re-engineering much of their infrastructure whilst expanding the CHP networks. In parallel, they are also investigating alternative solutions that are likely to replace the CHP networks in the future. Since the University is increasing their solar PV generation capacity in the near future, the energy management team has been looking at battery storage which would open the door to participation in the frequency response and the Balancing Mechanism markets.