Research carried out by academics has found that the role of demand response will be limited unless balancing mechanism response times are lengthened.
As the UK government confirms the Energy Bill’s next reading on 3 and 4 June, research carried out by the University of Reading’s School of Construction Management and Engineering supports the claim that demand response measures have ‘significant potential’ to contribute towards an effective Capacity Market and would help ease impending peak generation capacity shortages.
The report, funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) concludes, that the ability for commercial and industrial businesses to turn down non-essential services, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting, cold storage compressors and pumping equipment for example, could play a far greater role in helping the UK achieve its security of supply aims.
The University of Reading’s research team analysed empirical data supplied by KiWi Power from four different UK industry sectors, (warehouses, communication, hotels and offices) and concluded that present regulatory frameworks, while aiming to create a level playing field between demand and supply side measures, may inadvertently favour generation assets in the provision of demand response.
The report goes on to say that if demand response measures continue to operate under the same market structures as generation then it could prevent its full potential as a system resource.
The fast response times expected from providers under the present arrangements limit the time that some organisations have to prepare to reduce demand, as highlighted by this extract taken from the study:
1. The main challenge perceived among demand response providers is the response time. Although STOR [short term operating reserve] conditions only stipulate up to four hours to respond, in practice the service is called upon on much shorter timescales. Data from the STOR market information report (National Grid, 2012) suggests that more than 85% of contracted capacity in 2012 had response times between five and ten minutes.
2. Demand reduction on such short time scales is largely limited to automated processes. Furthermore, short response times preclude demand reduction measures that may require preparatory action.
3. Extending the response time may thus lead to greater participation and capacity provision from demand response resources.
A copy of the research paper, ‘Demand response from the non-domestic sector: early UK experiences and future opportunities’ by Philipp Grünewald, Jacopo Torriti is available at https://www.box.com/s/o8109widvm2jbvhysiqk