DSR and the future of renewable energy

Vincent de Rul
- Leadership - Dec 19, 2018

Demand Side Response (DSR) is playing a crucial role in the transition to renewable energy, helping incentivise businesses across Europe to become greener, and ensuring the grid infrastructure can manage the fluctuating energy supply generated by renewable sources such as wind and solar.

As governments across Europe continue to reward low-carbon businesses through grants and investments, in efforts to hit 2050 climate commitments, DSR will form a key part of business energy strategy.

With DSR schemes, businesses that can be flexible with their consumption are rewarded for committing to shifting or reducing their demand, in particular by switching to onsite generation when needed, to support the grid in times of peak demand.

One of the main benefits of DSR is that there’s often little upfront investment required to set up, as businesses often have existing assets they can optimise such as heating and ventilation, onsite generation, lighting, pumps and water tanks. For example, a supermarket may be called on to switch off their fridges for a few minutes – with no impact to its temperature – or a manufacturer with onsite solar panels might sell their energy back to the grid.

Businesses generating their own low carbon energy are not only reducing their carbon emissions, but also lowering their energy costs and improving their resilience. With the help of an energy optimiser such as EDF Energy, DSR participants are able to control trade and generate extra revenue from latent energy capacity in their existing assets.

Our PowerShift platform enables business customers to control, trade and optimise their flexibility capabilities all in one place. The role of business is no longer as passive consumer but active user, trader and generator of renewable energy.

Importantly, as the energy market changes and renewables take up an increasing proportion of generation capacity, the grid infrastructures need to be more flexible and responsive to cope with fluctuating energy supply.

Equally, businesses will have to make use of a variety of sources and schemes for their energy, which presents many opportunities for efficiency, lowering carbon footprint and monetising their energy assets. DSR is just one of the many ways businesses can play an important role in our changing energy landscape, helping to balance the network, reduce waste and emissions and ultimately to keep the lights on.

Renewables and business competitiveness are aligned; this is nowhere more apparent than in the need to create a more flexible power system that works in today’s changing energy mix. It will be one in which flexible business energy usage is central to managing energy costs and enabling greater renewable uptake.

The low carbon transition offers the opportunity for European businesses and governments to come together and use energy flexibility to deliver a low carbon economy, while giving businesses a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

Vincent de Rul is the Director of Energy Solutions at EDF Energy

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