Smart energy consumption in small and medium-sized businesses - through demand-side managementCUT! ENERGY PILOTS FIRST FACILITIES IN NORTH-RHINE WESTPHALIA
Smart grids need smart users. Many people are advocating smart grids as the solution in securing electricity supplies for the future. Smart grids are indeed important. But intelligent users are equally important. The German Association of Energy Consumers (Bundesverband der Energie-Abnehmer e.V.) (VEA) has estimated that the cost of electricity for the small and medium-sized business sector is going to increase again in 2013. The measures taken in the context of the energy turnaround are the reason for this. Therefore not only major industrial enterprises and households must be actively involved in the energy turnaround, but also the small and medium-sized business sector. Many people wonder: are there also chances and economic opportunities which do not need to be at the expense of the general public? This question is what provided the initial spark for the pilot project of Essen-based CUT! Energy. This energy service provider wants small and medium-sized businesses to acquire appropriate skills and resources to use energy more intelligently. With this in mind, for the remainder of 2013 CUT! Energy has teamed up with 30 companies based in North Rhine-Westphalia, to test how electricity-intensive small and medium-sized businesses can use controlled load shifting to become profitably involved in trading in the electricity markets. Especially for this purpose, the company has developed a virtual platform as an interface for system controls. Using the virtual platform, the electricity consumers can be connected or disconnected on the basis of optimum adjustment to company-internal processes and electricity prices. In this project, CUT! Energy acts as a link between a pool of electricity consumers, their electricity providers, and the energy market. The experience gained from the pilot project, with regard to process adjustments, reliability of the technology and expected economic viability, will be integrated into the solution finally adopted – which will be put into live operation in 2014. Demand-side management is a service that not only creates a benefit to the electricity consumers; by a parallel effect, in practical terms, it also contributes to better integration of renewable energies into the power supply scheme.