London, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- August 1, 2012 - Demand side response in the non-domestic sector in Britain has the potential to reduce peak demand by almost a third, a new study from the regulator Ofgem has found.

According to the study non-domestic buildings (excluding industry) contribute approximately 15 GW – around 30 percent of the total – to winter peak demands on Britain’s national grid. Assessment of the technical potential of demand side response measures, including flexibility in hot water, HVAC, refrigeration and lighting loads, suggests these could reduce the winter peak demand in this sector from 1-4.5 GW.

Excluding lighting, the flexibility of which is widely believed to be highly limited, would reduce these figures by about half.

The report, which was prepared for Ofgem by Element Energy and De Montfort University, was aimed to quantify the technical potential for demand side response in non-domestic buildings, and assess the barriers to further uptake of such demand side response.

The report finds that the biggest contributors to non-domestic peak demand are the retail, education and commercial offices sectors, which collectively contribute over 50 percent. The remaining contributors, including communications and transport, government, health, hotels and catering, sports and leisure, and warehouses, are relatively even, suggesting  that exploiting the full potential for demand response will require participation from buildings across all sub-sectors.

According to the report, engagement with demand response in this sector is currently very low, due to a combination of barriers including lack of focus on energy issues, lack of awareness of demand response measures, concerns of negative impacts on service levels and an insufficient or unclear economic case for action.
 
Further, consumers in this sector are unlikely to accept any impact on service levels to accommodate demand response measures.

It is likely that a range of enabling mechanisms will be required to support greater uptake of demand response in non-domestic buildings, the report states. Measures are required to increase confidence in and awareness of demand response, to reduce the complexity of demand response arrangements, and to demonstrate the economic case.