Power Cuts


A risk or an opportunity?

The power cuts across the UK on 9 August showed how brittle our energy system can be when certain circumstances prevail, leaving nearly 1 million consumers without power. At the time, it was a massive inconvenience to householders, commerce and rail travellers. Looking ahead, it was definitely a wake-up call. We need to be smart about our energy assets.

It makes no sense to ignore an opportunity to make your business more cost-effective but that’s exactly what is happening across the country. What makes the problem more challenging is that most executives appear completely unaware of one particularly lucrative opportunity: using Demand Side Response (DSR) technology to manage their energy. 

All businesses, big or small, have an important role to play in the drive towards a low carbon economy. Being smart with your energy assets means you can help National Grid manage the UK’s energy demands – and boost your bottom line.

How can this help? 

Here’s an illustration of why such execs should get up to speed – and soon. 

Snowglobe worked across 17 sites for a major UK company that provides waste management services. Its specialists introduced an intelligent IT solution that remotely triggers co-ordinated reductions in energy consumption without affecting normal operations. The software monitors and manages energy-using equipment such as conveyor belts, shredders and compressors – and even the heating and lighting in non-essential areas. 

Snowglobe proved to National Grid that the system was effective and the customer is now paid a monthly fee from the grid for reducing its energy load during higher-than-expected UK demand. In fact, National Grid pays out about £1bn for such contracts within the energy capacity market. While the lion’s share goes to power plants, there’s cash for companies prepared to reduce their electricity consumption to help reduce overall demand on the grid.

This new regime doesn’t just earn money. The software also turns down certain equipment for periods when the cost of electricity is more expensive. This happened around 20 times last winter, reducing energy bills but not, crucially, impacting on operations.

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