I recently attended the Clean Energy Live 2016 conference in Birmingham and it was no surprise that that one of the key themes of the event was demand side response. The key principle is simple, when there is too much demand for electricity the frequency of the grid will fall and when there is too much supply the frequency will rise, creating (in both cases) imbalances to the system. The traditional mechanism of balancing these out, by keeping fossil fuel power stations on stand-by at all times, is no longer fit for purpose, and ministers of the Energy and Climate Change Committee have indicated this is rather expensive.
This is where demand side response comes into play. In very simple terms, demand side response solutions allow, for instance, clean energy producers to deploy energy when demand is high (while storing/self-consuming energy when demand is low) and energy consumers to consume energy when demand is low. The immense potential of demand side response technologies is aptly illustrated through the "Living Grid Project", a partnership between leading organisations, including OpenEnergi, Sainsbury's and United Utilities, aimed at illustrating how demand side response technology works in practice.
Ministers advocating in favour of new energy subsidies for energy storage and demand side response technologies and a revision of the capacity market policy to enable those technologies to flourish will find plenty of "ammunition" in the projects pioneered under the umbrella of the Living Grid Project. We just hope that the Government (whose energy policy statement is due in November 2016) takes notice of these as well!
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Committee chairman Angus MacNeil said: "The government must get a move on and encourage the energy market to embrace smart technological solutions like energy storage and demand side response."There is an incredible opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in these technologies."Yet our current energy security subsidies favour dirty diesel generation over smart new clean tech solutions."