Jens Madrian quote web

The news of the Department for Energy and Climate Change being amalgamated into a revamped Department for Business will not have escaped retail heads. This amalgamation highlights that energy and business are closely connected and need to work together, not only to fire up our economy, but also to keep the lights on.

The retail sector is well versed in incorporating energy management to benefit the environment while also achieving savings. But for retailers to really be ready for a low-carbon and digital economy, there are still changes that can be made. One of these is the adoption of newer energy management techniques, in particular Demand Response.

Demand Response involves making safe, temporary adjustments to the energy consumption of electrical devices (such as freezers), for example temporarily turning them up or down for a particular benefit. When the electricity grid experiences peak demand then the energy supply becomes thin, with high demand resulting in higher prices. Demand Response can ease this issue, by interacting remotely with energy loads in each location and in some cases without ever visiting the store or fitting new hardware.

Demand Response can measure how much energy a store is using and, if there is a peak in the grid, or electricity is needed elsewhere, it can sense when and where to turn an appliance up or down. By shifting energy demand around, retailers can benefit from lower energy prices depending on whether their tariff is fixed or not. Retailers can also earn new revenue from the National Grid by turning their energy consumption up or down when needed.

As we move towards decarbonised electricity with increasing generation from wind and solar, Demand Response - in synergy with other technologies such as energy storage - will play a key role in a modernised energy system for the UK.

With the government now adopting a business-focused approach to energy, it’s time to future-proof supply chains and embrace new technologies such as Demand Response.

Jens Madrian is CFO & COO of Reactive Technologies