24 February 2016
LARGE USERS PLAN TO HELP KEEP LIGHTS ON AND COSTS DOWN
Alarmed by reports that Britain could face power shortages if there are further delays in replacing the ageing and polluting power stations now being retired, large energy users are meeting in Manchester and London to see how they can assist by turning down at peak times and providing supplementary supplies to the Grid when needed.
“Making sure customers know what they can do and how they can commercially benefit makes more sense now than ever,” says Jeremy Nicholson of the Energy Intensive Users Group. “That’s why we fully support the initiative being taken by the Major Energy Users’ Council with National Grid to bring industrial and commercial users together. We want to show what customers are already doing, how others can follow suit, and the benefits this could bring to all consumers”.
With the government committed to phasing out coal fired generation over the next ten years and delays continuing over new nuclear, there is mounting concern that Britain faces both short and long term potential power shortages. Keeping costs down is a major challenge as expensive renewable plants only operate for part of the time, requiring back up plant to stand ready and only generate when needed.
“Much better,” adds MEUC’s Technical Director Eddie Proffitt, “to encourage businesses to turn down when demand is high and even divert their own generating plant onto the grid for the benefit of everyone. They could then make use of much cheaper power at off peak times or even be paid to use it when supply exceeds demand. I believe trebling the contribution made in this way is a very real prospect and an essential step towards going green.”
Harnessing this potential from business could also open the way for domestic customers to follow suit if they are given the right incentives and backed by the introduction of smart meters. This would mean the UK would need to build less new generating plant, the investment for which is currently proving elusive.
The MEUC meetings for member companies and to which all other large energy users are also invited are being held at Old Trafford, Manchester on March 16th and the Marble Arch Amba hotel, London on March 22nd. Agendas for these conferences are available here:
For further information on demand management and the role industry can play in keeping the lights on, please contact Jeremy Nicholson, Director of the Energy Intensive Users Group on 020 7654 1536, or e-mail at email@example.com
Notes for editors:
1. MEUC is the independent association of industrial, commercial and public sector energy users set up thirty years ago to support its members companies in understanding how to manage and buy utilities and to represent their interests to government and the regulators. MEUC member organisations account for over 25% per cent of business electricity usage in the UK (www.meuc.co.uk)
2. EIUG represents the UK’s intensive energy users – steelmakers, chemicals, paper, cement, lime, glass, ceramics, and industrial gas producers – that depend on access to secure, internationally competitive energy supplies to remain in business (www.eiug.org.uk)
3. Demand response is not a substitute for building new power stations, but can help National Grid balance the system without the need for so much costly backup generation. It can provide a commercial opportunity for companies to capitalise on flexibility in their electricity demand, and help keep bills down and ensure security of supply for other businesses and domestic consumers that need continuous supplies of electricity.