From this winter it will no longer simply be a discipline pursued by companies looking to lower costs and carbon footprints.
It will be an industry playing a vital role in helping to keep Britain’s lights on.
Demand response schemes offer the tantalising prospect of both lowering energy costs and improving public image in one fell swoop
As explained in the cover feature of October’s Energy Management in Process supplement, when the National Grid’s Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) scheme gets underway next month it will be the first time the grid operator has explicitly sought to relieve pressure on the grid by encouraging major energy users to lower their demand on the network at peak times.
For the first DSBR period between November and February next year, National Grid has awarded contracts to 431 sites amounting to a potential 319MW of DSBR capacity.
Those responsible for this initiative at the National Grid see it very much as a first step towards larger auctions as more and more industrial users of electricity become aware of the financial benefits of lowering their grid demand by either adjusting their production hours or building onsite generating capacity.
The DSBR scheme is set to pave the way for a further demand response scheme run by the Government as part of its capacity payment regime.
Both schemes will not only ease the pressure on the growing need for more generating capacity, they will also help create an industry in its own right: in the US last year 28GW – 6% of peak demand - was made available through so-called demand side response providers.
Demand response schemes offer the process industries the tantalising prospect of both lowering energy costs and - by helping to keep Britain’s lights on through participation in such schemes - improving their public image in one fell swoop.