Putting the money in DR

The key challenge facing the development of a commercial DR project in Ireland is to create a market reward for consumers who modify their electricity consumption to match available supply. There is an active wholesale, but not retail, market for electricity in Ireland. This market is bid in by the Generator Units (market name for companies that operate generation plant) on the day prior to production based on expected demand. Computer software optimises for lowest cost the various bids and publishes the run schedule.

A projected system marginal price for one day during the past week is shown above. On that day the highest price was three times the lowest price. The X axis is one day divided into 48 hour segments and the Y axis is Euros per MWh.

If retail electricity prices varied by the same amount as wholesale prices then demand would start to match supply as users availed of cheaper electricity.

The objective of DR is to get retail electricity prices to vary in real time (Smart Meters) and to give consumers the tools (Synergy Module and Synergy Service) to manage their demand to minimise price.

This week I had my first face to face meeting with the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and although the challenges were obvious the people I met could clearly see the benefits of implementing DR. I remain hopeful that we can find a mechanism to monetise DR on the Ireland of Ireland to make it attractive for consumers to sign up.

If real time DR is not developed in Ireland then we have no hope of achieving the targetted 30% renewables that our government is aiming for.

Podcast on EDM

I really like this podcast, from IBM, on EDM.


Please take seven minutes to listen to it….

This article relates to the same project if you prefer to read.


In the 1970s, IBM’s position in the computer industry was akin to Microsoft’s position today. Over the last week I heard a news bullitin that IBM are now larger the the combined capitalisation of the Irish stock Exchange. Its interesting that such a large company are in the EDM space. This is an IT vertical market that could be very large. The effect will be to create a supergrid of smart electrical devices and smart electricity meters that offer consumers enhanced functionality while delivering energy savings, lower cost and enhanced renewables penetration.

Embedded Generation Synergy Module (EGSM) test laboratory.

In my last blog I gave an outline of how I am putting the infrastructure into my home to turn it into an off peak synergy module laboratory. I am also developing a test site for embedded generation synergy module (EGSM) concepts. To get full details on the overall project please visit www.cix.ie.

The normal electrical load at the CIX data centre will be around 550kW. I am planning to put a 1.1MW multi-fuel grid synchronised generator into the CIX data centre. That generator will be controlled by an EGSM and will in effect turn the data centre into a grid stabilisation device capable of either sourcing or sinking approximately 550kW.

CIX will have a 10kV grid connect and a UPS system that will enable it to ride through any power variations that will occur moving from site power consumption to site power generation.

By running the generator on bio-diesel or PPO it is possible to make CIX a carbon neutral data centre. By using the embedded generation capacity in the data centre, CIX will be facilitating the penetartion of wind energy into the Irish electrical grid by improving grid stability.

Off Peak Synergy Module (OPSM) test laboratory.

I am planning to turn my home into a little energy test laboratory so I can experiment with Off Peak Synergy Module concepts at the domestic scale. I have installed a 500 litre insulated stainless steel tank to store hot potable water. I will install a further 1000 litre insulated tank to store central heating water. These tanks mean that I can store enough hot water for one day for both washing and central heating.

I will install a large solar panel to heat the water in both tanks. I will supplement this solar heating with a water to water heat exchanger which will be electrically operated using off peak energy. In the winter this heat exchanger will take heat from a glass covered swimming pool. In the summer, after both tanks are full of hot water any surplus heat will be transferred to the swimming pool.

Karen and I bought this house nearly two years ago and it has oil fired heating which I will now replace. Living in the country, I have access to waste timber so I bought a wood burning stove and installed it in our living room. In return for some work this will give about another 5kW of heat for evenings where the heat pump cannot cope with very cold weather.

It takes 1kW to raise 1 litre of water one degree C in one second. Therefore a 3kW output heat pump would require 167 seconds to raise the temperature of the water in the tank by 1 degree C.  This means that a 3kW energy supply would require about 2.5 hours to raise the water in the tank by 50 degrees C. Therefore this potable water tank can be seen as a 7.5kWh energy storage device. Our larger water tank for heating can be seen to store 15kWh of energy.

I drive a Toyota Prius car. I am interested in various articles that talk about plug in hybrids and I plan to purchase a kit to convert my hybrid to a plug in. I then expect my Synergy Module to charge my car each night with low cost electricity.

As Ireland has an abundance of sites for commercial wind energy exploitation, I see no ecological advantage to installing a wind turbine at my home. However if PV solar panels drop in price I am hoping that my Synergy Module may trade some high cost day time electricity for low cost night time electricity and reduce my overall energy bills.