Wind farm expansion will see more factories paid to switch off

June 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

He said this would be one of a a number of measures, including connecting
wires to the continent and storage of energy, to deal with variable power
output from renewable sources.

National Grid, which operates Britain’s electricity system, began on Tuesday
recruiting businesses to a similar, short-term scheme that is aimed at
getting businesses to switch off between 4pm and 8pm on winter weekdays over
the next four years to help avoid blackouts.

The temporary measures, which will see businesses being paid tens of thousands
of pounds to take part and then receive further payments if they stop
drawing power from the Grid, were described as a “last resort” to
keep the lights on.

But Mr Holliday said that the plans were in fact just “the beginning”
and that measures to cut demand would become commonplace in the longer-term,
as Britain builds more intermittent renewable energy sources.

“We should be optimistic that demand response could avert the need to build
significant amounts of power stations in ten years’ time or so,” he said.

He said that historically, energy users had “expectations that the supply
will always be there” to meet maximum demand.

But “with renewables in the world in which we are moving towards”
this would no longer be the case as it would make more sense to shift energy
demand to times when the wind blows or the sun shines.

“We have to get used to a world in which when power is cheap we use it
when power is expensive we find a way of not using it,” he said.

Mr Holliday said households as well as businesses would take part in such
schemes. “This is the beginning of a world in which demand will be
managed more actively by all of us as consumers, when we have smarter homes,
smarter meters.”

Smart meters, which monitor energy usage in real-time, will enable customers
to be rewarded with cheaper prices for using energy when it is plentiful to
help ease the strain on the system at peak times.

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, confirmed that the government saw more
potential for demand management but insisted the development was not driven
by the need for backup for wind farms.

But Richard Smith, head of energy strategy and policy at National Grid, told
the Telegraph renewables were the main driver for such schemes in the
longer-term.

“Going low carbon has forced us to consider greater demand side
participation in the market because of the variability of renewables,”
he said.

He said he expected to see more businesses volunteering to switch off on rare
days when the weather forecasts showed wind power would be low. “You
can see it coming two or three days ahead,” he said. “You will see
people start to respond to that kind of thing, thinking ‘how flexibly can I
manage my business and respond to that?’.”

As well as encouraging businesses or consumers to cut demand when supplies
were low, they could also be encouraged to shift their usage to make use of
surplus wind power at other times when the wind is blowing but demand is
low, he said.

Nick Molho, head of climate and energy policy with WWF-UK, said: “If we
want to move to a renewable energy system in a way that’s both sustainable
and provides best value for consumers, then the Government should make of
the development of demand management solutions, electricity storage and
greater interconnection with Europe a priority.”

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