Asda’s fridges and freezers will soon serve as giant virtual battery packs for the UK as the supermarket signs a landmark deal with the National Grid.
The National Grid will pay Asda, the UK’s third largest supermarket, to cut power to its fridges, freezers and air conditioning units in 300 stores and 18 distribution depots to match blackouts and power surges in the UK, according to the Guardian.
Supermarket freezers are routinely turned off once a day as part of a normal defrost cycle, but new technology allows them time this to coincide with the UK’s national energy needs.
When Asda’s fridges and freezers are turned off, around 13-megawatts of power will be freed up, enough to provide power to 8500 homes.
This is part of the National Grid’s energy capacity market scheme, which sees it pay out around £1 billion in contracts to power plants to ramp up power output and businesses to cut power consumption at ten minutes notice.
Asda is working with Flexitricity to aggregate the energy potential of its store network, creating what it describes as a virtual battery across its estate.
“Reducing energy consumption makes both environmental and business sense,” Asda’s energy manager Peter Smith said.
“While we are a large company, our individual sites are relatively small, so the (Flexitricity) model provides an innovative and collaborative way for us to manage our consumption better, reduce our carbon footprint and provide a benefit back to the National Grid. It really is a no-brainer for us.”