Flexibility is the keyword for demand response technologies for businesses

As the energy transition to renewables ploughs ahead, flexibility is becoming a crucial asset that can help create a more sustainable system and maximise market opportunities

Published on 25 June 2020

Flexibility at the core of demand response technologies for businesses

Decarbonisation, digitalisation and demand for solutions designed around company’s actual needs are all confirming the importance of technologies capable of responding to the demand for flexible energy systems.

The current energy transition is leading to the gradual replacement of obsolete, polluting fossil fuels with sustainable, renewable sources. The targets set for Italy under the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate see the country coal-free by 2025, and renewables accounting for over half (55.4%) of gross electricity consumption by 2030.

This transformation won’t be zero impact for the electricity system, however. Specifically, the Transmission System Operator (TSO) must always maintain a balance between the production and consumption of electrical power to guarantee a secure, constant and reliable supply despite the use of uncontrollable sources such as sun and wind.

The demand response (DR) programme offers compensation to businesses that agree to reduce their consumption or increase their own production of energy by responding to dispatch orders from the TSO. The service that energy companies can provide to clients involves payment in exchange for flexibility, i.e. the willingness to adjust one’s consumption when necessary to keep the grid stable and reliable, and to respond to peaks in electricity supply or demand, thereby allowing a more efficient use of both infrastructures and resources.

Enel X is the leader on the Italian demand response market, with a market share of 35% and a managed capacity of 350 MW. The service it offers is aimed at commercial and industrial clients from various market sectors, including smaller ones (starting at 300 kW) managed in aggregate form.

Enel X’s flexibility portfolio includes four types of service: demand response programmes, GEO (Generation and Energy Optimisation) programmes, Interruptibility Management and Peak Management.

GEO is designed specifically for businesses with generation resources capable of feeding their excess energy into the energy market. It is structured on two levels: GEO Basic and GEO Advanced. GEO Basic is aimed at companies with an onsite generation system (such as cogeneration systems , storage systems, photovoltaic  etc.) and allows them to sell the excess energy they produce at the best price without having to become an energy market operator. GEO Advanced, on the other hand, is a solution aimed mainly at clients with a combined heat and energy system. In this case, Enel X uses AI algorithms to optimise generation time and usage, to reduce the company’s overall energy costs by maximising the margins from the sale of energy on the electricity market.

Thanks to Enel X’s DR services, clients not only can count on a new source of income they could not expect until now, but also learn more about the flexibility of their own industrial processes and participate in a more sustainable system for the environment. Demand response, indeed, not only helps stabilise the grid but makes a significant contribution to reducing the energy system’s impact on the planet, by making consumption more efficient.


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