Reducing energy consumption is considered one of the best ways to mitigate climate change. But where reducing energy consumption is not possible, flexible energy use can be a powerful way to reduce CO2 emissions.
At Fusebox, this is what we do: we help companies save money and reduce CO2 emissions through our energy flexibility software. Find out why we believe flexible energy use can power a cleaner future.
What is flexible energy use?
Flexible energy use is the ability to adjust the amount of energy used at the time, according to energy availability. Reducing energy use during periods of high demand and low supply, and increasing it during low demand and high supply.
This can be done by
- Using smart appliances that automatically adjust their energy usage depending on the time of the day or the price of electricity.
- Taking part in demand response programs that incentivize large energy consumers to reduce their energy use during peak hours by shutting down non-essential equipment, adjusting their production schedules, or using on-site generators.
- Using energy storage systems to store energy generated by renewable sources to release it into the grid during high demand.
- Utilising electric vehicles through smart charging at low demand times and feeding energy back to the grid during high demand periods with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology.
- Using building energy management systems (BEMS) that adjust the energy consumption based on occupancy, temperature, and other variables.
- Adjusting energy production based on demand with power generators such as solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro stations.
Read more: 6 examples of flexible energy consumption
Is flexible energy use sustainable?
Flexible energy use helps mitigate global warming by
- Eliminating the need for peaker power plants only used to increase energy supply during high-demand periods
- Making it easier to integrate renewable energy sources like wind and sun that are intermittent by nature
Energy demand fluctuates based on factors like weather, common habits, and exceptional events. Energy supply needs to meet the demand second by second, to keep the system stable and avoid blackouts.
To meet the demand at times when electricity use is high, electricity providers use fossil fuel-powered peaker power plants that are more polluting and inefficient than other energy sources.
“Peaker plants need to be able to fire up quickly. They are generally inefficient and expensive to operate,”
Jennifer Rushlow, the associate dean for Environmental Programs and director of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School
Flexible energy use can eliminate the need for peaker plants by reducing high energy demand periods. While turning down the office thermostat by a degree or charging electric vehicles at night, does not have a large effect on the general energy demand on its own, collectively, the reduction in peak energy use is significant.
Flexible energy use and renewable energy
Not only can flexible energy use reduce the need for inefficient and polluting peaker plants, it can help integrate a larger proportion of renewable energy into the energy grid.
The energy production of many renewable energy sources like solar and wind, fluctuates depending on weather conditions. These fluctuations are difficult to predict and many power plants can not vary their energy output quickly enough to account for the changes in amounts of renewable energy.
However flexible energy use strategies can be employed instantly. Smart appliances can reduce the consumption in seconds, water heaters can be turned off temporarily and so on, to account for lower energy production. And at times of high energy production, pumps and cold compressors can ramp up their consumption to utilise the large amount of available energy.
This makes flexible energy use an efficient way to incorporate renewable energy while keeping the energy grid reliable.
While renewable energy sources account for under 15% of energy production today, their proportion is growing rapidly. This makes flexible energy use increasingly important as a major factor in including large amounts of inconsistent renewable energy in the energy grid.
How does our software help with flexible energy use?
Balance your portfolio: You will maintain a real-time overview of production and consumption, dispatch controllable assets to minimize energy imbalances, and reduce costs for purchasing balancing energy.
Day-ahead & intraday trading: We help you efficiently manage your assets as per your energy market commitments, while maintaining a real-time portfolio overview. This way you can Seize opportunities from hourly price variations.
Energy storage management: Use our energy storage management features for lucrative energy arbitrage, ancillary services (FCR, aFRR, mFRR), or simply cover local consumption. Fusebox software automates collaboration among local production and consumption assets, while staying within grid connection capacity.
Flexible assets to ancillary markets: Use our fully automated software to provide advanced demand response services to your clients. We’ll assist you in establishing connections to TSO ancillary services for trading, dispatch, and reporting.
Explore new revenue streams: Attract new clients, enhance customer retention rates, and leave competitors in the dust by offering new services, creative ways to share earnings, and flexible ways to calculate extra value. Just as some examples of new business models, you can create value through PV curtailment during negative prices, offer ancillary services, managing energy storage, load covering, energy arbitrage and much more.
Flexible energy use mitigates climate change by limiting the need for polluting peaker power plants and helping to integrate renewable energy sources.
Collective actions like using smart appliances and energy storage solutions, or taking part in demand response programs, can significantly reduce energy consumption during peak hours. Since these actions can be automated, flexible energy use is a great way to instantly account for fluctuations in renewable energy production.
Our customers have reduced their CO2 emissions by 1500 tons with our flexible energy use software. Get in touch with our sales team to learn more about how we make that happen.