New energy 'powerhouse' signs up 40 at launch

Pictured, from left, Richard Watson, chairman, Sam Thompson, managing director, and Sam Alexander, technical director of PowerHouse Generation
Pictured, from left, Richard Watson, chairman, Sam Thompson, managing director, and Sam Alexander, technical director of PowerHouse Generation

ONE of the first companies to get fully up and running to offer demand side unit opportunities to businesses in the north said it has enlisted 40 customers ahead of launch.

PowerHouse Generation said large energy users from manufacturers to quarries, hospitals and hotels could benefit from reduced bills from

The firm is operating as a demand side unit (DSU) meaning it will benefit customers which have the ability to reduce their demand or have some sort of back up generator.

The demand reduction scheme was introduced by the transmission system operator and payments are administered through the SEM (Single Electricity Market).

It means when the electricity market is running out of capacity, firms will reduce their pull on resources to free up space for other users.

The payoff for grid operators is that improves the overall security of supply.

And PowerHouse Generation said it would open up "significant financial rewards" for firms.

There are substantial payments from the SEM for companies simply making themselves available, which rises when capacity is called for.

PowerHouse Generation has already operated as a Demand Side Unit (DSU) in the Republic since 2011.

It said demand reduction can be enacted by switching something off, delaying a process, switching on a generator or a combination of all of these.

The company's managing director Sam Thompson said: “We look forward to working with additional businesses across Northern Ireland to introduce them to this DSU scheme which we know will provide a welcome source of income with little or no impact to their day to day operations. With forty customers already signed up, we know that this flexibility of demand exists.

“PowerHouse is licensed and authorised to trade in the SEM in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as an aggregator. We establish if a business can benefit from the DSU scheme by analysing their electricity demand. If the customer wishes to proceed we then install communications and metering. This equipment allows PowerHouse to monitor and trade their demand reduction availability in the SEM. PowerHouse cover the installation costs which means there is no upfront capital requirement from the customer.

“We have one customer who will earn over £140,000 in capacity payments in the next 12 months due to their ability to reduce part of their electricity demand for up to two hours if ever required to do so. We are confident that more businesses will realise the positive financial implications that this DSU scheme could have for them.”

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of trade body Manufacturing NI said the arrival of DSU followed years of lobbying.

"This is very postive move and something we welcome," he said.

"We have the third most expensive energy in Europe for manufacturers and anything that reduces that is obviously a good thing.

"This had been around in the Republic for some time but for some reason there was resistance to applying the rules up here until now."