A Guide to Demand Side Response: Part 2

A Guide to Demand Side Response: Part 2

In Part One of BG Energy’s guide to DSR, we outlined the basics of what it is and how it works. We recommend you read Part One first, as it lays the foundations expanded upon within this piece. DSR is new in the UK; therefore firms are unsure of its many intricacies. If you want to get involved, you need to gain a clear understanding of the scope and context of DSR services (there are many different types) you can provide. How you will work with DSR is at least partially limited by your company’s size, the technology you use, and the volume of electricity you get through.

Be wary of the acronyms

There are a vast range of DSR schemes and programs out there, and industry insiders freely admit the complexity is challenging for businesses. The Energyst writes: ‘Current demand response mechanisms include Fast Frequency Response, Bridging Frequency Response, Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR), STOR Runway, Demand Side Balancing Reserve and the Capacity Market.’ Moreover, once you’ve established the type of DSR schemes you can provide, you then need clear understanding of the contracting process behind DSR service level agreements. For the sake of clarity therefore, we will explain and examine specific schemes and contracting in a separate, Part Three of this guide.

Why does the size of my operation affect how I work with DSR?

The volumes of electricity you use, and the type of equipment you have, will alter the ways you can work with DSR. If you are a large energy user, with complex electricity management equipment (which enables you to respond within seconds to a request to turn down power,) you can get involved with complex DSR schemes. Such complex schemes will request your help with turning down, or upping your demand relatively often. Such requests will be managed automatically and electronically. Your plant should be set up so production and control are automatically protected. Conversely, smaller energy users may not have the equipment needed to respond within seconds to a request. These businesses may be better suited to simpler DSR schemes, in which they only turn down equipment once or twice a year, perhaps even doing so manually. Of course, there may be exceptions. Some small businesses have high energy usage and complex plant. A  pottery for example uses plenty of electricity. This could be a good example of a smaller firm with high energy use, that could benefit from automation to profit from DSR. You should check your specifics and talk with your energy supplier, to see how your firm can work with DSR best.

Smart meters are the gateway to DSR

You should think of smart meters as a digital link between you and your energy supplier. In simple terms, they track how much you electricity you use. But in addition, your energy supplier can communicate a DSR request to a smart meter, so in many ways they are the key enabler, both for wider efficient energy management and DSR. As National Grid moves to changing business electricity supplies into a integrated network, where two way communication is key, smart meter data will be essential. The Government is requiring energy suppliers to install smart meters for their customers. In theory, smart meters will be rolled out as standard across the country by 2020. If you want one, contact your energy supplier.

The summary

Your energy usage, combined with your technology, will determine the extent to which you work with DSR. But, a smart meter is nigh on essential to getting involved. In Part Three, the final of BG Energy’s guides to DSR, we explain the jargon, acronyms, and ins and outs of the detailed world of DSR schemes and contracting.

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