Demand-Side Response (DSR): The Intelligent Use of Energy

The demand for electricity in the UK is growing constantly. Electricity is all around us, and without it we would struggle to continue our everyday tasks.

As the demand of electricity rises, so does the pressure on our power stations and energy generators. Many of the power stations in the UK still rely on fossil fuel consumption to generate energy, thus polluting the planet by releasing harmful carbon emissions during the process.

In the face of a global climate emergency, it is imperative that the UK government calls into action regulatory targets surrounding the use of fossil fuel. We have already started to make impactful changes to lessen our carbon emissions – 41.6% of the UK’s total electricity generation is produced via renewable sources.

At time of high demand the electricity grid relies on old power stations to deliver the needed energy. This leads to increased pollution during these periods, as old power stations consume fossil fuel to generate energy. In order to avoid excess pollution during these high demand periods the UK government has devised an energy strategy – Demand Side Response.

Demand Side Response (DSR), also referred to as energy demand management, is an energy strategy targeted at businesses and industries in order to reduce energy demand during peak times. Businesses are provided with a financial incentive to reduce the use of turn off non-essential electrical processes during peak demand times. Some examples of potential DSR participants are:

  • Supermarkets

  • Industrial Manufacturers

  • Universities

  • Commercial and Public Buildings

DSR works as to help the energy grid to balance supply and demand without additional electricity generation being required, therefore diminishing the use old power stations. Demand Side Response aims to limit the amount of time these power stations need to be used by maximising the use of renewable generation instead. This decreases the overall pollution levels of the energy industry, aiding the UK government in reaching their carbon targets.

Through the implementation of DSR we are able to manage and share our electricity consumption more intelligently, rather than simply generating more to meet the demand. Some examples of non-essential processes that large energy users can turn down are air-conditioning, heating and ventilation. Demand Side Response aims to reduce peak time electricity rates through decreasing the demand and sharing energy during these times.

DSR can reduce consumer bills, lower harmful emissions and make more intelligent use of our electricity. All of these benefits seem so enticing, so why aren’t more businesses electing to involve themselves in this scheme?

Demand Side Response is a voluntary program that large energy users must opt into if they wish to participate. Many businesses are hesitant to join the DSR scheme as some associate it with tight capacity margins and restrictions, but this isn’t the case. DSR isn’t a forcibly restrictive regime in which the energy that businesses use is closely regulated.

Rather, it is simply a scheme implemented to better manage and share electricity during peak times in order to reduce energy price rates and keep pollution levels low. Large energy consumers are still able to utilise energy during these times, they are just required to simply reduce their consumption slightly in order to not over-exert our energy generators.

The positive effects DSR has on the energy industry has been well documented. Research conducted by Good Energy found that the wholesale price of electricity was reduced by £1.5 billion just through the reduction of fossil fuel consumption in the generation of energy.

There must be more conclusive education around Demand Side Response in order for businesses to choose to implement the scheme into their energy regime. With more large energy consumers implementing DSR into their businesses, reaching a net-zero carbon future will be easier than ever.