Industry ‘needs to be flexible’ argues new report

The Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) and RenewableUK have come together to demonstrate the opportunities that the UK’s transition to low carbon power offers to British industry, by helping companies to reduce energy costs.

In a joint report, Industrial competitiveness in a low carbon world’, the trade associations explore how some companies are already varying the amount of electricity they use at certain times of day to match renewable power generation. By being adaptable and flexible in their demand, energy-intensive users can help balance the system in a cost-effective way, get paid for it and increase their competitive edge when operating in a decarbonising global economy.

The report also examines the potential for more companies to participate in flexible arrangements which will drive down network costs and allow them to take advantage of the rise in cheap clean power. This will lead in turn to reductions in household energy bills.

This means increasing energy consumption in periods of ample generation, and reducing use at times of peak demand, or when the capacity of the grid is constrained for technical reasons.

This flexibility is key to making British industry more competitive, as well as ensuring that cost-effective decarbonisation from renewable power generation can grow.

Consumers benefit too; the National Infrastructure Commission has suggested that flexibility could lead to reductions in the average household energy bill of £30 to £90 a year by 2030. This can be achieved by reducing the need for network upgrades, putting fewer power stations on standby, and using more renewable generation output.

Speaking at the report launch, the ADE’s director Dr Tim Rotheray explained how, despite often being presented as being mutually exclusive, there is clear alignment between decarbonisation and industrial competitiveness:

“The industrial, commercial and public sector energy sectors account for over half the UK power demand and it is their participation in the flexibility market which will be key in growing the market,” he said.

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