DSR: FAQs

1. What is Demand Response?

Demand Response (DR) encompasses deliberate actions taken by customers to temporarily reduce their demand on the electricity network, in response to incentives or signals from the market, an energy supplier or the grid operator.

There are different forms of DR flexibility;

Flexibility from diesel/backup generators – Standby generation or spare capacity in an operational generation unit on site can be called upon to provide electricity for use on site or be exported into the grid (distributed generation).

Flexibility from processes (load reduction) – Essentially switching things off or reducing their operational parameters to reduce the amount of electrical load they demand from the grid.

Flexibility from storage – Storing of electrical energy that can be released during specified periods to respond to demand.

2. Why is Demand Response so important?

Increasingly our electricity is being supplied from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power. While this helps us achieve our low carbon commitments, energy from natural sources is difficult to predict and often “peaky” – we have an abundance when the wind is blowing or during the summer when the days are long, but what about when it’s cold, clear and dark? Demand Response providers help to balance supply and demand, by responding to frequency signals, or instructions from grid, to reduce their demand on the network. Demand response providers prevent blackouts and equipment failures, while supporting a greener, more efficient grid. They reduce our reliance on coal-fired, thermal and dirty back-up generators which are coming to the end of their useful life, and do so at a lower cost to the consumer than the alternative of building new fossil-fuelled plant.

3. How do I know if my site can participate in demand response?

Each site is different, and ENGIE works with a wide range of industries to support balancing activities. Whether you have on-site generation, or the ability to switch off at short notice, if you have flexibility in your on-site electricity, we can help you earn revenue from it.

4. Will it disrupt my business?

No. ENGIE will work with you to ensure that the DR scheme you participate in is suited to your site, business and everyday operations. Your core business takes priority, so we will offer a solution which earns you income without impacting your internal targets.

5. How much will it cost my business?

Our Flexible Power Response offering means that we will install all necessary equipment, for free, to enable you to participate the demand response programme best suited to your assets.

6. Are there any penalties?

If you are unable to respond, or you choose not to, ENGIE will not impose penalties. Of course, you will lose out on income you would have earned, had you been available, but there will be no punitive charges.

7. What are the benefits of participating in Demand Response?

The benefits are significant. Earning potential varies depending on the type of service you participate in, however it’s entirely possible to earn between £20k p/a and £80k/pa by offering load flexibility. In addition, by supporting National Grid's balancing activities you will be supporting the growth of renewable energy, thereby improving your own green credentials.

For generating assets, there is the additional benefit of maintaining them at optimum efficiency; by offering back-up load to National Grid, generators are paid for essential tests, ensuring long-term efficiency and reliability and helping maintain your assets in prime condition.

8.What needs to be installed at my site?

As part of our Flexible Power Response offering, ENGIE will select, specify and install, in partnership with your engineering team, all necessary equipment to ensure successful interaction with the selected demand response service(s). This is undertaken by ENGIE as part of our contract with your organisation where the costs are absorbed by us. ENGIE has the experience and capability to connect directly to assets or connect to a broader controls platform i.e. BMS or SCADA. The hardware required is generally dependent on three things:

  1. The type of demand response service your organisation is working within;
  2. The size of the loads involved;
  3. The existing plant / process controls in situ i.e. BMS or SCADA.

Often part of our service offering involves the upgrade or installation of new control solutions which is undertaken by our internal Controls and Automation division.  This provides added value as wider energy saving opportunities can be accomplished in the areas of building management.

9. How long will my site be impacted by an event?

How long you will need to respond for depends on the type of service you participate in. For frequency providers this is usually around half an hour, around 12 times per year, while reserve providers are usually called upon for between 1 and 2 hours, between 50 and 100 times per year.

10. Why should I work with ENGIE?

ENGIE has actively participated in Demand Response programmes for more than 15 years, and were pioneers offering National Grid Frequency driven demand response capacity. We have consistently had participants in reserve and frequency markets, helping them to earn hundreds of thousands of pounds with the least amount of effort on their part. We have the experience, the knowledge and a supportive team, ready to help you start the demand response journey.

11. How do I sign up?