Severn Trent has partnered with Open Energi to unlock demand flexibility from its equipment and help build a smarter energy system in the UK. The company, which provides water to 4.5 million households and businesses across the Midlands and Wales, aims to provide over 20MW of flexible capacity from across its network by 2020.

Open Energi’s innovative Dynamic Demand technology means equipment such as pumps, motors and blowers can automatically adjust their electricity use second-by-second without affecting processes. By tapping fast-acting flexibility in existing assets, businesses like Severn Trent are providing an efficient, low carbon means of balancing electricity supply and demand, paving the way for greater use of renewable energy across the UK.

Open Energi’s technology is already operating at two of Severn Trent’s sewage treatment works in Redditch and Leicester. Together these two sites are providing National Grid with around 1.2MW of real-time flexibility. A further six sites have been identified as part of the first phase rollout, which is expected to be complete by Q1 2018. Longer term, Severn Trent plans to expand its use of Dynamic Demand to smaller sites and estate buildings.

Rob Wild, Demand Side Response Manager at Severn Trent said the move supported the business’ commitment to operational excellence and innovation as it responded to the challenges of the 21st Century: “Ultimately we want to minimise the amount of energy we use whilst providing our customers with the best level of service at the least cost. Open Energi’s tech delivers an income, but it also gives us far greater visibility of how our assets are performing, second-by-second. This insight can help us to optimise our sites for the future – pre-empting maintenance issues, improving resiliency, and thinking more smartly about how we integrate other technologies, such as renewable energy and battery storage.”

Open Energi was awarded the contract with Severn Trent following an open tender. An important factor was Open Energi’s understanding of the operational challenges associated with delivering a dynamic frequency response service from “always on” assets, within a highly regulated, customer facing industry.

Paul O’Brien, Director of Operations at Open Energi explained: “We apply extensive diligence to the integration of our technology with our customers’ assets, working closely with their operations and process scientist teams to ensure that the control protocols are always respected and that our integration has zero impact on the process operating parameters.”

Open Energi is preparing to roll-out its next generation tech platform, Dynamic Demand 2.0, next month, which will optimise distributed energy assets, including industrial equipment, battery storage, EVs and on-site generation, to help businesses “stack” demand flexibility value streams from multiple markets and services.

David Hill, Commercial Director at Open Energi commented: “Renewable energy achieved a massive milestone last month, as new offshore wind projects undercut the cost of nuclear. This is great news for UK decarbonisation efforts but highlights the urgent need for greater flexibility in our energy system. Our partnership with Severn Trent can help to deliver this, and we see huge opportunities to drive further long-term savings for the business as we continue to develop our Dynamic Demand platform.”