Supplying electricity is only the first step. Nowadays large electricity companies are offering much more, starting with smart services for energy management. Our Group is at the forefront of this sector with Enel X. Our most recent success has been achieved with the help of EnerNOC, an American company that is part of the Enel Group specialised in smart energy technology. In Ireland it has been assigned a 40% share of the demand response market, a key instrument in the management of modern electricity networks, a sector in which EnerNOC is a global leader.
Demand response is an advanced mechanism based on a simple concept. Some companies, including large industrial factories, data centres and construction companies, consume substantial amounts of electricity. As a result, they have a significant impact on electricity distribution trends. In the old one-way energy model, this effect could create problems for the network at times of peak demand. In today’s world, however, the emphasis lies on network stabilisation: the energy supply companies ask their industrial clients if they are willing to reduce or postpone their energy consumption at specific times, offering in exchange an economic incentive on an annual basis (in the form, for example, of favourable tariffs) to reward the flexibility offered.
In practice, the industrial clients become a tool for the efficient management of energy resources, and consequently also for reducing the tariffs. This service will play a key role in a scenario in which peaks of demand will have to cope with an increase in the number of electric vehicles and the integration of renewables into the energy mix.
Demand response reflects all aspects of the energy of the future – energy efficiency, digitalisation, the development of electric mobility and the integration of renewables, but also the new role that customers will play, no longer as passive users but as active players, who are knowledgeable and discerning. This brings benefits for both the energy suppliers and the industries involved.
For the Enel Group, demand response is a strategic market. One of Enel X’s four areas of activity – e-Industries – is focused on services for large industries, such as demand response, consultancy, energy efficiency technologies, distributed generation and off-grid solutions. With the acquisition of EnerNOC, finalised in 2017, we have incorporated over 8,000 clients, 14,000 managed sites and a demand response capacity totalling 6 GW spread across Europe, North America and South-East Asia.
Since then EnerNOC has continued to grow, entering the Australian market and acquiring the Californian company eMotorWerks, a leader in charging solutions for electric vehicles. The most recent project was the expansion in Ireland, where our presence in demand response is set to increase by 60%.
“Our solid experience in providing different demand management and network services solutions puts us in a unique position to help Irish customers to deal with the changes ahead and maximise the value of their participation in demand response programmes,” explained Francesco Venturini, Chairman and CEO of Enel X.