PRESS RELEASE: A smart thinking metal company is turning its energy-intensive assets into income and using the revenue to fund self-generation, scoring a win-win of cash and cost savings.

Ross & Catherall, part of the Doncasters Group and a world leading manufacturer and supplier of metal bar stock, has teamed up with Open Energi to turn some of its most energy-intensive equipment into smart devices which can automatically adjust their energy demand to help National Grid even out peaks and troughs in electricity supply and demand.

A small amount of kit installed on site allows its mould ovens to recognise when National Grid has too much or too little electricity and increase or decrease their consumption accordingly. These adjustments may happen several times a day but only for a few minutes at a time and only within strictly controlled parameters.

Dave Gartside, E&HS Manager explained: “The technology integrates with our ovens controls and if there’s a sudden surge in demand, say we’ve all switched our kettles on at half-time during the football, it will ask the ovens if it can turn them off for a few minutes. Our ovens are heated to 450 degrees Celsius so short-term switches like this have no impact on their temperature or the quality of our end-product. Most importantly the ovens are in control; if they’re able to switch they will and if they’re not they won’t.”

This flexible demand helps National Grid to balance electricity supply and demand in real-time without turning peaking power stations up and down. As more of our energy supply comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar, the ability to flexibly manage energy demand will be a critical factor in ensuring energy security.

Installing Open Energi’s technology, known as Dynamic Demand, is part of a continual drive by Ross & Catherall to identify energy efficiencies and reduce costs. That’s why the revenue from the service is being used to finance a 500kw rooftop solar array, enough to meet almost 5% of the company’s energy needs.

Dave added: “Energy is the biggest cost for our business so we’re constantly looking for innovative approaches that can help us save money and increase our competitiveness. Dynamic Demand is a completely new twist which is helping us make money from our cost base. We’re starting with our ovens but plan to extend the service to our furnaces in the future.”

Chris Kimmett, Commercial Manager at Open Energi commented “By sharing their flexible energy demand in this way companies like Ross & Catherall are helping to transform how we use and deliver energy and accelerate the UK’s transition to a zero carbon economy. What’s great is businesses are being rewarded for doing the right thing and sustainability is not at the expense of productivity.”