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UK businesses partner for demand response energy system

For the first time a partnership has been formed to relieve the pressure on the UK’s static electricity system which also aims to reduce the country’s annual carbon footprint by 90,000 tonnes

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The programme aims to generate 200MW of flexible power by 2020
The programme aims to generate 200MW of flexible power by 2020
  • A UK initiative will see three companies team together to establish a new energy network called the Living Grid, described as a demand response ‘energy ecosystem.’


Sainsbury’s, United Utilities, and Aggregate Industries are the founding partners of a programme which aims to generate 200MW of flexible power by 2020. This would be enough to power 100,000 kettles across the UK. In addition, the three partners aim to supply 39MW of flexible capacity by this time, saving almost 90,000 tonnes of carbon annually in the UK. Organised by the non-profit Forum for the Future, it intends to recruit 20 organisations in total to meet the 2020 target.


It is the first time a partnership has been established to help modernise and relieve the pressure on the country’s existing, static electricity system. Corporate energy users are said to be uniquely placed to lead the way in influencing the demand-side of the electricity grid because their energy needs have a significant impact on peaks and troughs in electricity usage.


The programme is starting by connecting large corporate energy users’ equipment with smart technology powered by founding tech partner Open Energi. It’s ‘intelligent demand response technology’, allows equipment to continuously adjust its electricity usage to adapt to peaks and troughs in demand and supply across the grid without affecting performance.


When electricity supply can’t keep up with demand at peak times, connected equipment is requested to decrease consumption temporarily to free up electricity for other consumers. When there is spare capacity, equipment can increase demand in order to make use of the surplus.


Sainsbury’s, United Utilities and Aggregate Industries have all piloted this technology with Open Energi, and plan to roll it out across their operations nationally, with expected carbon savings for the UK of 88,764 (almost 90,000) tonnes by 2020.


“Intelligent demand response, which invisibly and automatically flexes electricity consumption in real-time, is paving the way for a completely different electricity market,” said David Hill, business development director of Open Energi.


“A market that doesn’t require polluting peaking power, that can integrate renewable energy efficiently and most importantly, that empowers consumers. We’re excited to be part of the Living Grid’s vision to transform the energy system to make it ready for the challenges of the future.”




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