Voltage Demand Reduction is an effective approach to reducing electricity consumption and lowering our carbon impact. In fact, we save 2.5kWh of fossil fuels, with every kWh of electricity we don’t use.
The Association for Decentralised Energy (ade) has recently published a report which focuses on flexible demand, or Demand-Side Response (DSR). The ‘Flexibility on Demand’ report explores the benefits of DSR—reducing consumption be letting energy users lower their demand, or use alternative on-site generation.
What are the benefits of flexible demand?
Reduced carbon emissions are one of the major goals of DSR—and the benefits don’t stop there when it’s widely adopted. But, energy demand is more readily adjusted within industrial and commercial environments so it isn’t an ideal approach for a domestic setting.
DSR offers a greater level of security for energy supplies, without the need to invest in open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) plants or diesel engines. While these are traditional generators which provide a quick response to demand, they are responsible for high levels of carbon emissions.
Flexible demand methods can become part of the National Grid’s balancing mechanism. They can be used to respond to changes on the network, reducing or increasing demand as it is needed.
Economy and revenue
Making a demand response like turning off machinery, or using machinery only at certain times, can mean that participants pay less out. Not only is there an opportunity to reduce electricity bills, but organisations could also get paid by the National Grid and Aggregators for participating.
Why would flexible demand be a positive change in the domestic environment?
Domestic consumers in the UK account for around 36%, or just over a third, of the demand for electricity. Reducing carbon emissions from domestic environments, and providing more ways to balance the network would be valuable steps towards creating better value and generating less waste.
Why would it be more difficult to adopt?
A few factors make it more difficult to employ DSR in the domestic environment. As domestic energy demand is smaller, the benefit from signing just one house up would be negligible—to make a real impact, a number of homes would need to take part. And, before putting it in place, each customer would need to accept the scheme.
Reducing carbon emissions, paying less for energy, and strengthening the network are compelling reasons to take part, but each home would also need to be connected to an external mechanism which switches appliances on and off remotely. Not only would this be logistically challenging, but some homeowners may feel it compromises security.
Is there a better alternative for homes?
Yes. The BlueGreen offers a permanent reduction in energy consumption of around 9%, without any of the drawbacks of DSR.
The ade report suggests a maximum possible saving on industrial energy consumption of 3.6TWh. With a BlueGreen in every home, we would see an even bigger reduction in energy consumption—and an even bigger impact on waste.