Kodak Alaris cuts energy costs 11% as Dong steps up demand-response push

Whittingham: only way is up for flexible kilowatts
Whittingham: only way is up for flexible kilowatts

Imaging and data firm Kodak Alaris says it has cut its UK energy bill by 11% using Dong’s energy management platform.

The cloud-based software takes half hourly market signals and automatically schedules equipment and on-site generation to either make the most money or make the biggest savings, according to the Danish state owned firm. Site operating constraints are taken into account, says Dong, with the savings achieved by aligning Kodak Alaris schedules to within 3% of those recommended by the Site Optimisation software.

“We used to have a plan that didn’t change all week because it was built on averages,” said Kodak Alaris energy manager David Jeans. “Now we have a plan that changes from hour to hour, and that really optimises what the plant is doing each day.”

Dong, which is pushing hard into demand-side response (DSR) in order to generate revenue and balance its wind portfolio, said the Site Optimisation platform also represents and entry point into grid balancing services for end users.

“While the primary benefit of Site Optimisation is the difference it can make to a business’ bottom line, for some manufacturers it may also represent a first foray into energy flexibility,” said Dong Energy for Business MD, Jeff Whittingham.

“As the energy system evolves and the UK is focused on a more sustainable approach, flexibility will take centre stage.”

Both energy suppliers and aggregators are competing to sign-up more businesses for balancing services provision.

Whittingham told The Energyst’s DSR conference last September that the value of flexibility would grow significantly over the next few years as energy companies face steeper penalties if they get the balance between generation and supply wrong. In tandem, the UK’s thermal baseload power is in decline, creating a challenge for National Grid to keep the system balanced, which is why the system operator has embarked on a massive programme to scale up the amount of power it procures from DSR.

Whittingham said the imbalance issue opened up a “completely new profit pool” for businesses that can provide flexibility. While aggregators think many large suppliers will be too slow and cumbersome to deliver innovation in user-led balancing, Whittingham believes “only suppliers [as opposed to aggregators] can play in that space”.

“You need a supply business and a trading arm to do it. So that is a big profit pool that I think is going to be significant over the next three to five years.”

For businesses, provided they are not locked into long-term contracts, the question of whether energy suppliers or aggregators win out is almost immaterial. According to Whittingham, the prize for providing flexibility is significant. “The value of the kilowatt is going to rapidly increase in the next three to five years,” he said. “So be careful where you stick it.”

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