Norish was established in Ireland in 1975 and provides cold storage facilities to partners throughout the UK. It has 60,000 pallet storage spaces across the country and consumes an average of 21 gigawatts of electricity per year.
Energy is the second biggest overhead for the company, and its operating costs have more than doubled over the last 10 years.
Whilst electricity consumption is a big cost, it is also a vital part of the service Norish provides to its customers. Power is consumed from the grid to drive compressors which maintain safe and reliable temperatures within the cold stores. On hot days, the compressors must work extra hard, which means more power consumed.
A key business concern is the need to reduce energy costs whilst maintaining core business operations and develop sustainable revenue opportunities.
In order to do that, Norish engaged Flexitricity to help them harness the flexibility it has in its energy consumption profile.
Traditional generators like large coal and gas-fired power stations are being replaced by cleaner but intermittent renewables, creating a huge opportunity for flexible energy users and generators, like Norish, to help National Grid meet the energy demands of the UK.
Flexitricity’s role is to identify flexibility at customer sites and make that flexibility available to National Grid at the right time and the right price, maximising revenue for the site. The demand response pioneer operates a 24/7 control room from its Edinburgh office, allowing it to optimise value through continuous analysis fed by up-to-the-second measurement of energy markets and each site’s capabilities and needs.
At times of high national electricity demand, or if a major power station fails, Flexitricity turns down Norish’s cooling plant for short periods to reduce the stress on the electricity network.
Critical temperatures are monitored to ensure the integrity of the stored product. This allows Norish to earn extra revenue without disrupting its normal business operations.
The partnership with Flexitricity has transformed efficiency across the plants and enabled Norish to reduce energy costs, drive sustainable revenue and re-invest to improve operations.
Latest figures show that working with Flexitricity has earned Norish in the region of £180,000 over the past decade.
There has also been a significant environmental impact. Every megawatt of capacity connected to Flexitricity is a megawatt that does not have to be held in reserve elsewhere. This reduces the need to keep coal and oil stations on hot standby or running inefficiently at part load – reducing emissions by between 300 to 750 tonnes of CO2 per megawatt per annum. In addition, the flexibility provided by Norish is vital in helping National Grid manage the increased renewable generation in the system.
Stuart Lloyd, chief engineer at Norish Cold Storage, said that working with Flexitricity has allowed the business to manage and drive value from its energy assets.
He explained: “Working with Flexitricity has had a huge impact on our business and has enabled us to drive savings and revenue from an area that has always represented a significant overhead for us.
“Our energy costs have nearly doubled over the last 10 years, so it has been imperative for us to look at every and any method of reducing our energy consumption.
“Having access to the demand response market has been truly transformational for us, allowing us to be more innovative and efficient in our energy management. The partnership has not only given us more control and business intelligence, but we are also able to support National Grid as we move towards a low carbon economy.
“We are also now exploring new on-site generation and storage opportunities including lithium ion batteries, onsite turbines and solar panels as we respond to the growing demand for flexible energy generation.”