Friday, 19 October 2012

Flexitricity Pushes the Envelope in Growing UK Demand Response Market


Demand response is expanding its wings in many ways. About a year ago, two companies used demand response for frequency regulation in the PJM market, the grid operator that covers the Mid-Atlantic.

A similar project just played out in the United Kingdom, where Scottish demand response company Flexitricity recently dispatched sub-second demand response from a manufacturing plant for frequency services for National Grid.

The two pilots would make it seem as though the demand response markets are moving along in tandem from both sides of the pond. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Demand response is a far more mature market in the U.S., where a few large companies and endless startups bid megawatts into ever-changing markets. The bulk of the megawatts have traditionally gone to capacity resources, but increasingly, demand response is playing in additional markets, including frequency regulation and spinning reserves. Residential demand response is also increasingly becoming a reality in small doses.

In the U.K., however, there has traditionally been more generation than was needed, leaving little need for load shedding from the commercial and industrial sector. That is changing. “Everyone has known available generation is on its way down, but it’s not down yet,” said Alastair Martin, founder and chief strategy officer at Flexitricity.

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