Aggregate Industries, a leading producer and supplier of construction materials, is the first business in the UK to automatically optimise its electricity demand in real-time via Open Energi’s Dynamic Demand 2.0 platform. The approach is forecast to deliver 10% annual electricity savings and will provide valuable demand flexibility to support growing levels of renewable generation.
30 bitumen tanks across eight of Aggregate Industries’ sites UK-wide have already been connected to the platform, which uses artificial intelligence to automatically optimise their daily electricity use in response to a variety of signals, including wholesale electricity prices, peak price charges, fluctuations in grid frequency, and system imbalance prices.
Aggregate Industries is accessing the imbalance market via Renewable Balancing Reserve (RBR), a product offered by its renewable electricity supplier, Ørsted. RBR enables Aggregate Industries to tap into the financial benefits of participating in the imbalance market, by reducing its demand at certain times.
David Hill, Commercial Director at Open Energi, explained, “Growing renewable generation levels have increased volatility in the imbalance market. Prices can spike very rapidly when there is a shortfall in supply and this has created valuable arbitrage opportunities for businesses who are able to quickly reduce their demand for short periods.”
Open Energi has worked with Ørsted to automate this process, so that Aggregate Industries’ assets can respond at the click of a button. On average, Aggregate Industries’ assets are responding to three 30-minute RBR calls a day.
David added, “By stacking value streams and automating participation, Dynamic Demand 2.0 ensures Aggregate Industries maximises the financial benefit of its demand flexibility. Scaled up, this pioneering approach will have a huge impact on the way our energy system operates, paving the way for a smarter, cleaner, more affordable energy system.”
Over time Aggregate Industries plans to expand its use of Dynamic Demand 2.0 to 48 asphalt plants UK-wide – representing up to 4.5MW of demand flexibility. It is also exploring its wider portfolio of assets and processes to identify where further benefits may lie.
Richard Eaton, Energy Manager at Aggregate Industries commented, “Aggregate Industries and Open Energi have built a very collaborative partnership, and this has given us the confidence to pioneer new solutions. As energy markets evolve it’s important we keep up with the pace of change. Dynamic Demand 2.0 means we can cut costs and respond to emerging market opportunities, whilst providing the clean, low-cost flexibility needed to power a sustainable energy future. That’s good news for our business, our customers and the environment.”
Open Energi’s technology is helping Aggregate Industries to operate its bitumen tanks more efficiently with no disruption to site processes. It uses flexibility inherent in the tanks’ normal heating and cooling cycle and adapts this to serve a secondary purpose. Dynamic Demand 2.0’s data console provides complete visibility of asset performance helping to identify where improvements can be made and encourage behaviour change.
The two companies have worked together since 2012, when Aggregate Industries was one of the first businesses in the world to provide a dynamic, real-time grid balancing service, using Open Energi’s original tech solution. Upgrading to Dynamic Demand 2.0 has been a straightforward process - at several sites the platform was activated remotely, and where on-site changes were required, it was incorporated into a regular site maintenance visit.
Open Energi is working with a number of customers who are in the process of connecting assets to Dynamic Demand 2.0 to reliably and safely unlock the full benefit of their demand flexibility.