Unplanned shutdown at Torness shows value of distributed network

Yesterday’s unplanned shutdown of one of Scotland’s main nuclear reactors demonstrated the value of a multi-faceted energy market, with business energy users helping keep the lights on.

Edinburgh-based demand response provider Flexitricity was called into action by National Grid yesterday morning after EDF Energy’s Torness 2 reactor unexpectedly tripped during routine testing.

Reserve was required from Flexitricity to secure electricity supplies, which responded by lowering the energy consumption at its range of connected businesses and using excess capacity in their energy assets.

Dr Alastair Martin, chief strategy officer at Flexitricity, says the event demonstrated that the modern energy market need not rely solely on large power stations, with a distributed network able to step in to provide more flexibility.

He said: “The unplanned shutdown of Torness resulted in a call for reserve power from Flexitricity to fill the gap. We responded by quickly lowering consumption at commercial sites like cold stores, and by turning up highly efficient combined heat and power generators across our connected network.

“The shutdown happened mid-morning, which is one of the less stressful times of day for the National Grid, so only a small part of our capacity was needed. We have several hundred megawatts across the portfolio which is ready in case things get worse, however.

“Our reserve capacity – which actually comes from the flexibility of business energy users, can act very quickly. It really demonstrated the value of a distributed and dynamic network that can respond quickly without adverse impact on the environment and, importantly, on consumers.”

With the gap between supply and demand at its lowest for years, the reserve provided by companies such as Flexitricity is ‘vital’, he said.

“It is vital the National Grid has a ready supply of back-up capacity to fill in when traditional coal, gas or nuclear power stations fail, which happens from time to time,” Dr Martin added.


Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Flexitricity.

For more information please contact:

Dyan Owen: 0141 333 0557/ 07738 086 818/ dowen@webershandwick.com

Steven Flanagan: 0141 333 0557/ 07557 210989/  sflanagan@webershandwick.com

Notes to Editors

About Flexitricity

Flexitricity partners with businesses throughout the UK to provide reserve electricity to National Grid.

The word “Flexitricity” means “Flexible Electricity”. The company looks for flexibility in electricity consumption and generation, creating revenue for energy users and generators using the flexibility they find.

Flexitricity was founded in 2004 by Dr Alastair Martin, a professional energy engineer with experience ranging from gigawatt-scale coal and nuclear power stations.

Based in Edinburgh, the company introduced the concept of aggregated load management and flexible generation. 

National Grid’s estimate of savings to consumers can be found at: http://www.nationalgridconnecting.com/how-dsr-could-transform-our-energy-system/

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