We are a separate company

On 1 April the Electricity System Operator became a legally separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change means.

Water company collaboration first for National Grid ESO

National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has teamed up with north-west water company United Utilities, to see if additional flexibility on the electricity system can be provided from demand-side response (DSR) in the water sector.

The ‘Enhancing energy flexibility from wastewater catchments through a whole system approach’ project will be the first time an electricity company has collaborated with the water industry, to see if this is possible in Great Britain.

This novel 18-month project – which will be funded using Ofgem’s Network Innovation Allowance – will look to prove/disprove the theory that providing demand side flexibility through controlling a whole wastewater system is more cost-effective than focusing on a single asset or process, using existing assets.

DSR means that large energy users alter their consumption, or switch to their own generation, in response to real-time demand. By being flexible with their energy use, they help the ESO strike the right balance and receive payment in return. As water companies are some of the largest consumers of energy in the UK, and with some of these operations not being time sensitive, the water sector is a suitable contender for DSR. 

United Utilities’ Demand Response Manager Natalie Jones said: “The UK energy system is in a period of unprecedented change and United Utilities is at the forefront of the water industry’s response. Innovative projects like this will help us to realise the potential the sector has to provide flexibility, minimise our carbon footprint and help to tackle future challenges around climate change; while keeping bills affordable for customers.” 

The water sector has significant, untapped potential to provide DSR and we’re excited to collaborate with United Utilities to understand how we can reduce barriers to entry and facilitate market access.

– Adam Sims, Power Responsive Manager, National Grid

The Power Responsive programme led by National Grid ESO, which brings together stakeholders from a range of UK sectors, identified the potential for additional demand-side flexibility from the water sector.

Adam Sims, Power Responsive Manager and Project Lead, said: “As the UK energy system changes, there is a growing need for alternative ways to balance the system. A key priority of the Power Responsive programme is to grow participation and encourage demand-side response provision from new and emerging technologies. 

“The water sector has significant, untapped potential to provide DSR and we’re excited to collaborate with United Utilities to understand how we can reduce barriers to entry and facilitate market access.”

For more information on innovation in National Grid ESO please visit our Innovation web page.