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New Venture Launched To Manage Energy

3 March 2014

Costain today launches its COdemand venture, which will deliver Demand Response Solutions to its customer base. Demand response is defined as any service that allows the demand of energy to be shifted in order to help manage fluctuations in electricity supply and demand on the grid.

The first solution being brought to market by Costain, in conjunction with its partner Open Energi, is a new system that fine-tunes organisations’ power consumption and provides more flexibility for managing the electricity network.

Open Energi’s system, known as Dynamic Demand, uses a combination of software and metering technology to attach to machinery such as pumps, chillers and air conditioning systems. Operating through a Tridium controller, it adjusts the power consumption of an asset in accordance with changes to grid frequency, effectively turning them into ‘smart assets’.

Power transported by National Grid has to be balanced to within a statutory frequency limit of 49.5 to 50.5 Hertz. If grid frequency drops, additional power needs to be generated, which costs money and produces more CO₂.

When Dynamic Demand detects a change in frequency, it automatically adjusts the power consumption of assets under its control. The pioneering partnership between Costain and Open Energi has tremendous synergy.  Costain can offer the system to clients that are major energy consumers and bring its understanding of a customer’s assets and processes to the equation. Among early adopters are Sainsbury’s and Aggregate Industries.

Benefits from Dynamic Demand are extensive. Customers receive revenue from allowing their assets to be managed and UK CO2 emissions are reduced as National Grid is less reliant on fossil-fuelled power stations to meet increased demand.

Claire Baker, Costain’s Sustainability Solutions Manager, said: “Dynamic Demand is the first of a portfolio of ‘demand response’ solutions to be fielded under the umbrella brand-name of COdemand. We are extremely excited and see tremendous opportunity in the delivery of this solution to help our customers reduce their exposure to future energy price rises by earning revenue from managing their assets in a smart and sustainable way.

“There is  the added benefit that, once installed, we will have sub-second data about the operating cycle of every asset, which will enable us to help customers manage and optimise their asset base even more effectively; it’s amazing what can be discovered when you shine the spotlight on every asset.”

Ged Holmes, Commercial Director at Open Energi, added: “Costain is leading major infrastructure and engineering projects across the UK, which by their nature face enormous energy challenges and costs. Our Demand Response solution can help Costain’s clients to mitigate the impact of rising energy bills and reduce CO2 emissions.

“By combining its intimate knowledge of clients’ assets with our technological expertise we hope to rapidly accelerate the uptake of our Dynamic Demand solutions and together contribute to a cleaner and more secure energy network here in the UK.”

Dynamic Demand has aroused interest among environmental groups and has been shortlisted for the Climate Week awards on 4 March.