Edinburgh-based supplier Flexitricity has announced it has secured close to £500,000 in funding to help smaller commercial energy users benefit from demand side response (DSR).

The funding, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), has been given to implement and test the next stage of the Quickturn project, a DSR initiative that will use flexible energy-consuming assets such as cold storage, air conditioning and heat pumps to help National Grid balance the fluctuating demands of the UK energy system.

Flexitricity, which said the project aims to provide the first “realistic opportunity” for small commercial users to benefit from DSR, added it is now working on recruiting a range of sites to implement and test the new solution as part of the second phase of the project.

The company is also partnering with the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Digital Communications, which will contribute its expertise in emerging technology to increase communication speed and reliability and reduce the overall cost of setting up DSR dispatch systems.

Flexitricity said Quickturn will benefit SMEs as well as smaller sites that are part of larger, multi-site estates, such as supermarket chains. The project will help these sites “reduce energy costs and earn revenue through providing electricity system balancing services to National Grid”.

Previously, participation has not been economically viable for smaller sites due to the cost of hardware, communications and implementation.

Flexitricity founder and chief strategy officer Alastair Martin said: “The ongoing drive towards a more decentralised, renewables-based energy system means that small businesses, and eventually households, will have a vital role to play in the long-term management of our energy system.

“The funding we’ve secured for this project will allow us to develop a cost and time effective solution that fits the requirements of National Grid as well as small sites. National Grid doesn’t turn down its requirements for reliability just because a site is small.

“Also, a small site will have core business processes which are just as critical as they would be on a large site.  This means we’ve had to find a way to deliver the same quality to National Grid and achieve the same core business protection for the site, as we do in traditional DSR – but with less time spent working on site, and smaller, lower-cost equipment.”

Last December Flexitricity, which was founded in 2004, announced it would become an energy supplier to give customers a slice of that premium market, while cutting the cost for National Grid and all energy users.

What to read next