Getting your business DSR comfortable
For many businesses the biggest blocker to taking part in DSR is culture – not technology. Essentially, fear that changing electricity use will interrupt day to day business operations.
But in practice there is normally plenty of energy saving potential in your assets and processes to make DSR doable. It's just a case of working out where the potential is and how much flexibility there is. And then proving it to stakeholders in your operations.
An effective way to approach this can be to run a pilot on one of your sites* to work out your benchmarks for different processes, for example refrigeration, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and other production processes. This will show you the level of energy demand change that is safe for your customer experience and product quality, and you can build confidence from there.
*Eligibility criteria apply. Contact us to find out more about eligibility criteria and options available.
Getting your business set up for DSR
The best paying DSR schemes require you to commit to reducing or shifting a minimum level of energy use and prove how much demand you reduced when called upon. Because we’re an aggregator, we can help you take part with relatively small amounts of electricity demand. But we need to be sure of your capacity and capability to respond quickly.
To get you set up correctly, we complete site assessments to confirm your potential, upgrade any hardware (like controls) and software (like your building management system). We can control your assets via our smart response platform so it’s not a burden on you or your staff.
Seeing the savings and saving more
Once registered and installed, our smart response platform takes care of adjusting your electricity demand within the parameters we’ve agreed and tested together. From the information it provides, we then calculate payment due to you. It’s that easy.
But why stop there? To make sure you’re earning as much as possible, we’ll help you monitor the effect on your business processes, model what you could be earning as a bolder DSR participant, and increase the participating sites over time as your confidence grows.
After all, the more you earn through DSR, the lower your business’ energy charges.
Contact us for more information or to sign up to Demand Response.
Here’s our process for getting you from eager to enabled.
1) Scoping phase
and we’ll assess your business’s suitability; covering number of sites, types of assets available, load reduction vs. on-site generation, predicted volumes/flexibility, and an outline of the schemes we can offer.
We’ll ask you to complete an eligibility questionnaire
This is a standardised questionnaire covering all schemes that we offer.
We can talk you through the form so that we can cover off any required information and so that we can learn more about your organisation and its DSR potential.
We’ll also ask you to provide an outline of your organisational structure, so as to improve our understanding of who the key stakeholders are at each step on the journey.
Analysis of your metering data
We’ll examine your half-hourly / and sub-metering data if available – to better understand your business’s flexibility potential. From March 17 we’ll launch our DSR Profiling Tool which will give us more insight into your consumption data.
2) Decision phase
We suggest DSR product(s) that we offer and are best suited to you, based on the outcome of the scoping phase.
We present you estimated revenues
We’ll give you a high level estimate based on the information that we’ve gathered, along with a transparent outline of the potential enablement costs.*
We assess the suitability of your site(s)
We’ll inspect and test onsite assets and controls to make sure they're optimised for Demand Response. This could be carried out either by our engineers or by site-based engineers where this is more appropriate.
We provide you with detailed financial proposal
This is based on the results of the site assessment above. At this point we’ll send you our DSR Terms & Conditions.
*Additional considerations for export customers: Works to upgrade Distribution Network Operator (DNO) infrastructure may be required in order to facilitate export from customer site(s). There could be costs associated with such works, which would need to be covered by the customer and paid to DNO.
3) Site enablement
Once you’ve signed our DSR T&Cs, you’ll be fully committed and we’ll start working to get your site(s) DSR enabled. Once enabled, you can start earning.
1. What is Demand Side Response?
Demand Side Response (DSR) is the name given to schemes where businesses are paid to change their energy consumption in response to signals from the National Grid at times of peak demand or system stress. Businesses who can be flexible with their consumption are rewarded for making capacity available when needed, either through onsite generation, or by shifting or reducing demand.
This could mean a hotel reducing the heating for a short period of time during the early hours of the morning, or a supermarket turning off their freezers for thirty minutes, without disrupting their operations.
2. Why is it needed?
DSR is an innovative solution to a changing energy landscape. Two of the current challenges in the UK electricity market are:
- Quantity – the margin between peak demand and supply is at historic lows not seen since the the industrial revolution due to the closure of fossil-fuel power stations (carbonbrief.org).
- Quality – increased reliance on renewable energy such as solar and wind makes it harder for the Grid to balance demand and supply, as the weather plays a huge role in reliability.
The advance of Smart technology creates potential for businesses who actively manage their energy. DSR in particular creates opportunities for flexible businesses to earn revenue by supporting the National Grid in times of peak demand or system stress.
3. What are the benefits of DSR to my business?
DSR could enable your business to unlock untapped revenue from your existing assets, whilst also helping to fulfil your sustainability and CSR goals. It also gives you valuable insight into your business’s energy consumption patterns, helping you to deliver further improvements in energy efficiency. Additionally, regularly utilising backup generation for DSR constitutes an additional testing regime for your assets.
Some DSR schemes such as Firm Frequency Response and the Capacity Market enable your business to be paid just for making capacity available to respond to events, meaning your assets would still be generating revenue in the form of availability payments even where they are not required to deliver .
4. How can I find out if my business is suitable for DSR?
Every business is different, and we can work with you to help you determine the right Demand Response scheme for your business.
Suitability depends upon:
- Your operations - how flexible you can be with your consumption.
- The size of your business and how much capacity you can make available.
- Your existing assets- businesses with certain types of operating process are more suited to DSR. Examples include cold storage, UPS, back up generators, bitumen tanks, heating systems, cooling systems and water pumps.
- Your existing technology - how much data is available on your energy consumption and how well it will work with our response equipment.
We can provide the consumption data analysis and technical support to enable you to identify suitable locations and assets for DSR. We are committed to making sure that we gain a comprehensive understanding of the requirements of your business and the processes that drive its core operations. Taking these factors into consideration, you'll then be able to assess which DSR scheme(s) would provide optimum benefit to your business.
5. What’s the minimum amount of capacity required to get involved?
National Grid set minimum thresholds for the capacity they procure through each DSR scheme (e.g. Firm Frequency Response = 10MW). As an aggregator, we can enable your business to extract revenue from smaller pockets of capacity. You’ll just need to be able to provide a minimum of 500kW per site.
6. Will DSR disrupt my business operations?
We work closely with you to help determine the level at which you can participate without disrupting your normal operations. You set the limits and based on this instruction we will come up with a DSR solution for you to consider, tailored to your business needs. These parameters can then be adjusted periodically as your knowledge of your DSR capability improves with experience.
7. Is it possible to participate by controlling assets manually?
Under certain DSR schemes – such as in the Capacity Market where 4 hours’ notice is given prior to an event – it is feasible to participate by manually controlling your assets if this is desirable, whereas other schemes require a response time that is only attainable through an automatic system – such as Frequency Response schemes, which require delivery within seconds. Our platform is deisgned to enable your assets to respond automatically to signals from the National Grid, opening up a wide range of DSR schemes to your business.
8. Will my business lose control over its processes?
Some businesses find that they can participate in DSR by shifting energy intensive processes to times when demand is lower, while other businesses will have processes that can be paused for a certain period without having any impact on the quality of their product or service. DSR rewards flexibility and you retain control by defining the parameters of your participation and setting the limits of your flexibility. For schemes that do not require a rapid response, you may opt to control your assets manually.
9. What happens during a DSR event?
In all cases your business will receive a notification to inform you about the event. Depending on the scheme, DSR events can be triggered with prior notice of between 4 hours (Capacity Market) and 1 second or less (Enhanced Frequency Response). There are 2 ways that your business can participate in a DSR event.
- One, we can set up your assets to respond automatically to event notifications, within seconds if necessary (opening up the opportunity to participate in Frequency Response schemes).
- Or, two, if you’d prefer to retain manual control over your assets, we can help your business to establish a process for manual DSR participation, and you can sign up to receive event notifications that prompt you to trigger your participation.
10. How often would my business have to respond to DSR events and how long do they typically last?
How often you need to respond depends on the scheme. For the Capacity Market, based on recent trends, responses typically are limited to less than one event per month on average across the whole year – although the number events can always increase due to external factors, for example, if something happens that adversely impacts system margin (the cushion between the level of demand and the available capacity on the supply-side). On the other hand, Triad avoidance requires a regular response during the winter months in order to maximise the likelihood of avoiding all three Triads.
You can select the right DSR schemes for your business according to how often you are prepared to respond.
11. What does it cost to get set up?
We will supply and install our DSR enablement equipment at your site(s), meaning your business could get started doing at DSR with little to no upfront cost. If your business is looking to export electricity from on-site generation to the National Grid, then there could be costs associated with getting an export connection set up. In this case we can support you through the application process and co-ordinate with the DNO on your business’s behalf.
12. How can my business get involved?
Get in touch to find out if DSR could enable you to unlock a new stream of revenue from your business’s assets.
The first step to getting DSR enabled is to complete our compatibility questionnaire. We’ll guide you through this form and use your responses to learn more about the DSR potential of your business.
13. Are there any penalties involved?
It’s worth noting that for some DSR schemes (e.g. Capacity Market) there are penalties for failing to deliver when called upon. These are fully set out in the applicable terms and conditions. Where there is uncertainty about your business’s ability to deliver, you can test your DSR capability in a scheme such as Triad Management, where there are no penalties.