PRESS RELEASE: Open Energi and Tarmac partner to harness flexible energy demand and deliver new capacity to the UK grid

London, 9 December 2015: Demand Side Response (DSR) company Open Energi today announces a landmark partnership with Tarmac, the UK’s leading building materials and sustainable construction solutions company.

The agreement will see Open Energi harness flexible energy demand from Tarmac’s equipment which will be aggregated to unlock new flexible capacity on the National Grid.

Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand technology allows consumers (the ‘demand-side’) to change how and when they use electricity to free up capacity for the overall grid. It does this by freeing up electricity that can be used to balance spikes in demand, avoiding the need to rely on additional power stations that would normally swing into action during peak times.

Open Energi is working with Tarmac to install Dynamic Demand on over 200 bitumen tanks at its 70 asphalt plants across the UK, helping to build a smarter, more responsive system which supports renewables and the wider UK transition to a zero carbon economy.

The technology automatically and invisibly adjusts power consumption of these bitumen tanks to help manage fluctuations in electricity supply and demand. Dynamic Demand is ideal for use with stored energy devices such as bitumen tanks, because although they need energy, as long as they operate between expected temperature limits, it does not matter precisely when that energy is used.

Ged Holmes, Commercial Director, Open Energi said: “DSR is playing an important role in building a smarter, more sustainable electricity network. The collaboration with Tarmac is a significant milestone for Open Energi, supporting National Grid to balance supply and demand on the grid.”

The rollout commenced at the start of 2015 and, to date, Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand technology has been installed at more than 50 of Tarmac’s sites, with the remaining 20 expected to be live in early 2016.

Dr Martyn Kenny, Sustainability Director, Tarmac, said: “Our construction solutions are used across the UK to create the infrastructure around us. As such, we recognise the importance of contributing to its overall sustainability, by ensuring we optimise the whole life performance and by growing and managing our business in a sustainable way. DSR technology helps us do just that. By managing our energy demand more smartly we are supporting the delivery of the UK’s carbon reduction targets.”

Throughout the year, the grid experiences a series of spikes in power demand as millions across Britain tune in to watch their favourite soap or sporting event, and put the kettle on during advert breaks. Responding to these spikes rapidly is critical to ensure the grid is balanced and the lights don’t go out. The integration of more renewables on to the network also means that more fluctuations in generation are likely to occur.

National Grid has identified DSR as a key solution for managing these fluctuations and future proof the UK’s electricity grid, announcing plans earlier this year to invest up to £400 million a year to meet between 30 to 50% of grid balancing requirements from the demand side by 2020, via its Power Responsive campaign.