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09 September 2015
Britain’s largest demand response provider says a shake-up in the country’s energy market could see businesses in all sectors become the power stations of the future.
Flexitricity last year became the first company of its kind to win National Grid’s approval to provide 260MW of electricity to the GB Capacity Market, starting in 2018.
Now the firm, which is re-launching its brand as it prepares to increase its share of the Capacity Market during December’s energy auctions, says growing awareness of demand response to meet the country’s electricity needs means it can no longer be seen as a periphery service.
Dr Alastair Martin, Flexitricity’s founder and its chief strategy officer, said: “Our capacity comes from a connected grid of companies, who use our fully automated system to either reduce electricity use or operate small, on-site generators, whenever the national electricity system is under stress.
“This resource – called ‘demand response’ – is increasingly recognised as integral to the future of the Grid, as it means we can provide extra capacity and help keep the lights on when demand for electricity is at its greatest.
“This service will become increasingly important, as the gap between supply and demand grows ever narrower over the coming years. National Grid has suggested that demand response could save consumers approximately £790 million.”
He added: “This is a major opportunity for us as Britain’s largest and most experienced demand response provider, as well as for British companies or public-sector organisations. Sites with flexible electricity loads or back-up or Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators can earn revenue by unlocking the flexibility in their energy assets – without affecting their day-to-day business.”
Based in Edinburgh, the company’s success in bidding in the first T-4 (T-minus four) capacity auction last year put it on a par with many of the country’s conventional power stations. It is planning to grow its capacity rapidly by bringing more companies and public-sector organisations into its network.
Among those companies currently making up Flexitricity’s network is Rainbow Growers, Kent. They run two Combined Heat and Power (CHP) generators on site, with a maximum output of 5.4MW. Rainbow doesn’t use all the capacity it has, which leaves 2.4MW available for Flexitricity’s system.
When required, the CHP can be started remotely to provide the extra capacity at short notice. There’s no impact on Rainbow Growers’ day-to-day business, yet Flexitricity generates substantial extra revenue for the company.
Pleun van Malkenhorst, Managing Director for the Kent site, said: “This is an important way to reduce operating costs and make more efficient use of our generating capacity.
“We obviously need to generate our own power. However, our arrangement with Flexitricity means we are also deriving revenue from the plant, which helps towards our costs.”
Flexitricity will be taking part in the next round of capacity auctions, which is aimed at securing electricity supplies from 2019. Flexitricity plans to connect an even broader range of companies to its network to boost its output further.
Dr Martin added: “For companies with either generation assets or flexibility in the way they use energy, this market offers a new source of revenue from assets they already own.
“We’re already transforming the energy sector, and it’s going to get bigger. No longer will people think of electricity to power lightbulbs and kettles coming solely from power stations, but potentially from supermarkets, hospitals, data centres, factories and greenhouses.”
Flexitricity will be attending The Energy Event on September 15-16 in Birmingham, where it will launch its new identity.
Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Flexitricity.
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Notes to Editors
Flexitricity is a Scottish company which partners with businesses throughout the UK to provide a reserve electricity to the National Grid.
The word “Flexitricity” means “Flexible Electricity”. The company looks for flexibility in electricity consumption and generation, creating revenue for energy users and generators using the flexibility we find.
Flexitricity was founded in 2004 by Dr Alastair Martin, a professional energy engineer with experience ranging from gigawatt-scale coal and nuclear power stations.
Based in Edinburgh, the company introduced the concept of aggregated load management and flexible generation.
National Grid’s estimate of savings to consumers can be found at: http://www.nationalgridconnecting.com/how-dsr-could-transform-our-energy-system/