U.K. hospitals sign up to energy demand management vision

The fledgling market for demand management contracts in the United Kingdom has received a major boost this week, after its government signed up to a four year scheme that aims to reduce energy consumption in public buildings, hospitals, military bases and universities at times of peak demand.

A deal signed between a branch of the U.K. government called Government Procurement Service (GPS) and U.K. smart grid companies, including KiWi Power and Flexitricity, will see the sites lower energy use or switch to back-up systems to reduce the strain on the national grid at key times.

This is known as demand side response -- or negawatts -- and has the additional benefit of reducing the need for expensive and carbon-intensive back-up power stations.

All sites will receive payments for participating in the demand management, which can then be invested in property improvements, while the partners will also provide energy audits and supporting technology such as smart meters for the facilities.

The public sector and central government estate uses an estimated 10 percent of total U.K. electricity demand, so offer a huge opportunity for delivering significant energy savings.

Scott Buckleton, head of business development at GPS, said: "As energy costs climb for everyone, not only will demand response programs help curtail electricity usage, these programs do it in a way that does not interfere with the critical infrastructure of our nation's government sites and help maintain budgets for doing the real work of supporting the U.K."

Photo of hospital hallway provided by Julian Rovagnati via Shutterstock.

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.