How much is one degree Celsius of comfort worth to you?
Or how about one kilogram of carbon?
And would your answer change depending on what day of the week it is, or if you were in the middle of your busiest period of the day?
These are the questions that building operators have to answer when they consider participating in demand-side response (DSR) or grid balancing services.
Conventional approaches to DSR - where flexible energy assets are dispatched or curtailed to support the stabilisation of the electricity grid - often require energy consumers to make a trade-off between ceding control of their energy profile in return for gaining access to the financial rewards on offer from demand-aggregators and DSR market places.
But for many building operators, this approach to DSR is too rigid and opaque and requires them to operate as if their buildings were static batteries, back-up generators or peaker plants.
But, of course, a commercial building is not a battery or peaker plant.
It’s a dynamic building whose priority is to operate a comfortable and controlled environment for the lowest financial and environmental impact.
For a busy shopping mall, the decision over whether or not to dispatch a HVAC asset creates a direct impact upon the comfort and well-being of shoppers. After all, that is the sole reason the HVAC asset exists in the first place - its utility is to deliver a comfortable environment to the people using the building.
And how might an airport - conscious of its carbon reduction targets - weigh up the risks and benefits of responding to DSR obligations if it meant shifting their demand into higher-carbon periods of the day?
So when it comes to optimising the comfort, carbon and cost performance of your building, ceding control of these assets - even if it offers the promise of financial reward - is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Flexibility. On your terms.
At Grid Edge, we think the answer to this problem is to put building operators at the centre of our flexible energy system, empowering them to unlock and publish their building’s flexible energy profile on their terms.
That means being transparent about the impact of flexibility on your building’s comfort, carbon and cost profile.
It means operating on a day-ahead time-scale that works for your building, not 48 half-hour settlement periods, month-ahead DSR auctions, or year-ahead DNO active network management schemes.
And it means empowering the building operator to decide where and when they participate in markets for flexibility, whether that be through their supplier, DNO, aggregator or otherwise.
We call this ‘Flex2X’.
Supported by funding from the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), we will be developing and piloting this consumer-led approach to flexibility throughout 2019 and 2020.
At its heart is the next generation of Grid Edge’s AI technology that enables building operators to predict, optimise and control their energy profile - but now with the ability to co-create value from ‘over-the-meter’ relationships with their energy supplier, the DNO and other parties.
We believe that consumers should be the most important actors in the 21st century energy system, and that flexibility should be its most valuable commodity.
If you share this vision - and you’d like to know more about what Flex2X could mean for your building - then we’d love to hear from you.