SSE Airtricity and Cool Planet have have joined forces to help alleviate pressure on the Ireland’s electricity system and intelligently balance the national grid.
The two companies have developed a demand response solution which incentivises commercial energy users to reduce electricity consumption from the grid during periods of high demand.
At peak times, when the country’s energy demand can outstrip supply, companies and factories will be incentivised to reduce their electricity usage, by making use of on-site generators, battery storage or temporarily switching off certain machines and processes. This will help balance supply and demand and stabilise the grid.
“Our electricity grid is facing serious challenges, with growing warnings around energy shortages and possible blackouts. Demand response is a way that businesses can help with this”
SSE Airtricity and Cool Planet’s demand response solution will be available to commercial customers across all industries in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with significant opportunities for businesses such a data centres, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hotels, food producers, hospitals, quarries, and processing plants.
Ireland’s electricity ‘trilemma’: Sustainability, affordability and security
Businesses who provide demand side services can earn significant recurring revenue, and enhance their green credentials, as demand response supports the integration of more renewables on the grid and helps avoid an electricity generation shortfall as older thermal plants are decommissioned and electricity demand increases.
For business who are already offering services to the grid, the solution can help maximise those revenues and support them in reducing their supply costs through optimising their demand profile and time of use.
Cool Planet founder Norman Crowley recently spoke out about the debate relating to data centres’ impact on Ireland’s existing electricity capacity.
“Data centres can help reduce demand on the grid by utilising generators and battery storage,” Crowley reasoned. “They all have back-up generators. If they can switch to the generators at peak times, they can free up the grid. The country can use 5,000 megawatts of energy on a peak day.”
Sam Alexander, head of demand response at Cool Planet Group, said there was an urgent need to balance the ‘trilemma’ of sustainability, affordability, and security of supply when it comes to energy, and demand response is an excellent way to alleviate constraints.
“There is no capital outlay for an organisation wishing to take part in demand response. Furthermore, they will be reimbursed for fuel cost if a generator is called upon when they reduce energy usage. It’s a win-win situation both for the Grid and commercial energy users.”
“Our electricity grid is facing serious challenges, with growing warnings around energy shortages and possible blackouts. Demand response is a way that businesses can help with this, earning money, better security of energy supply and green credentials while doing so. We have paid out more than €750,000 to demand response customers over the past year.”
Since 2008 SSE has invested significantly in Ireland, with a total economic contribution of more than €3.8bn to the economy. SSE owns and operates 28 onshore wind farms totalling 890MW across the island of Ireland, offsetting over 700,000 tonnes in carbon emissions annually.
Stephen Gallagher, director of Strategy & Development, SSE Airtricity Customer Solutions said the partnership will combine SSE Airtricity and Cool Planet’s expertise in energy markets, engineering services and energy efficiency.
“In the next five years, demand response will become an increasingly vital tool in the toolbox towards delivering net zero carbon as it enables increasing renewables penetration and decarbonisation of our electricity systems. It also allows industry to generate revenue from dispatchable load such as decarbonised and electrified process heat,” he added.
Main image: Alan Keogh from CoolPlanet, Stephen Gallagher from SSE Airtricity and Sam Alexander from Cool Planet