The London Underground Turns Backup Power Into a Revenue Driver

For many Londoners, getting on “the Tube” is part of their daily routine. Every day they cross their fingers hoping to get to work or make it from meeting to meeting on time. What many passengers don’t see are all the little things happening in the background—particularly the efforts to ensure the Tube doesn’t succumb to power outages.

Did you know that The London Underground is the biggest power consumer in London? Not only that—it also has the largest private power network in the UK, and it even runs a backup power station to ensure uptime during outages.

But, fortunately for those who rely on the Tube, power outages are not a daily occurrence. So what should a company like London Underground do with such massive backup power resources when they are not in use?

By leveraging its backup power station to participate in Demand Side Response (DSR), London Underground helps ensure overall reliability on the grid, all while putting more money in its pocket in the process.

The Value of Demand Side Response

In order to maintain reliability, the power grid needs to maintain a balance between the energy available and the energy used. When a peak in energy consumption puts pressure on the grid’s resources, one way to maintain stability is to make more power available. That’s where DSR plays a valuable role.

Through DSR, large organizations reduce their reliance on the grid at times of peak demand. An organization like London Underground can alleviate pressure from the grid without seriously affecting its own operations by temporarily relying on its backup power station. This is just one way to participate in DSR—others rely on their own flexibility, simply reducing their energy consumption when the grid needs it.

However, the electricity grid isn’t the only beneficiary of DSR. The organizations that participate in DSR are reimbursed for their contribution to grid stability. So, with DSR, the power station that the London Underground invested in as a backup source during power outages becomes a source of revenue, for example.

What Will the Future Bring?

The transition to renewable energy sources is expected to drive growth in DSR in the near future, according to a report from The Energyst.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are great options to diversify the energy supply on the grid, but you can’t exactly create a long-term plan that accounts for sunshine or wind. As the grid transitions to incorporate more energy from renewable sources, DSR will continue to play an important role—helping ensure the grid can meet demand, and driving revenue for the businesses that participate.

Learn more about how your organization can participate in demand side response with our eBook.
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Authored By Franziska Löffelbein

Franziska is responsible for onsite-support for our European offices. She dreams of a better future each day and joined EnerNOC to make that future the new present.

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