Asda to provide power to grid with energy from fridges

The National Grid is set to pair up with Asda by using the supermarket giant’s fridges to help balance the energy grid.

Asda has agreed to provide a virtual battery pack to the grid this winter by committing 300 stores and 18 distribution depots to projects that will give the chain extra revenue, while providing the National Grid with 13MW of power, which is enough energy for 8,500 homes.

The deal means that National Grid will be able to utilize energy from Asda’s array of freezers and storage fridges, while the supermarket has also signed up to a trial which could mean its fridges are used at only 10 minutes’ notice to act as a safety net if there is an unexpected power station outage.

National Grid pays out about £1bn worth of contracts through its energy capacity market. Most are awarded to power plants so they are ready to ramp up their generation but they can also be given to companies which can cut their electricity use to help reduce overall demand on the grid.

Scottish DSR and energy specialist Flexitricity is also working with the supermarket chain to help it tap into potential energy savings across its sites nationwide.

Peter Smith, Asda’s energy manager, believes the agreements with National Grid were easy decisions to make, while praising the work Flexitricity has carried out.

“Reducing energy consumption makes both environmental and business sense,” he said.

“While we are a large company, our individual sites are relatively small, so the Flexitricity model provides an innovative and collaborative way for us to manage our consumption better, reduce our carbon footprint and provide a benefit back to the National Grid. It really is a no-brainer for us.”

All industrial fridges are turned off at least once a day as part of a standard defrost cycle but new technology means supermarkets can earn extra revenue by matching the downtime to Britain’s energy needs.

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