Thu, 1st Jun 2023

QK Cold Stores: Tightening Targets Met Through Demand Response

Customer Background

QK Cold Stores are part of the Arrow Group, an international group of food and food-services businesses employing more than 4,600 people globally. QK Cold Stores’ role within the group is to provide a wide range of cold chain solutions including blast freezing, case picking and tempering.

The Challenge

Due to the energy intensive nature of their business, QK Cold Stores constantly seek efficiencies in their operations to help trim costs and meet ever-tightening targets. VIOTAS reached out to QK Cold Stores while they were still smarting from a negative recent on-boarding experience from a competing demand side service provider. Despite this poor experience and the related low levels of trust now associated with demand response participation, VIOTAS encouraged their general manager to try again. While still interested in the benefits of demand response, a new partner was required who could deliver on their promises.

The Solution

After initial conversations and a period of site-testing to determine suitability, VIOTAS successfully brought QK Cold Stores’ site into the existing demand side service market. Thanks to the recent control system upgrades on-site, fully automated participation was possible from the get-go. The resulting income was healthy but short of what QK Cold Stores previously earned from the Short Term Active Response (STAR) program that was coming to a close. VIOTAS advised how new frequency response demand side services could help bridge this gap. Coincidentally, the national grid operator was looking to perform qualification trials for these new frequency response demand side services and had selected VIOTAS as a technology provider. QK Cold Stores agreed to volunteer one of their sites for the trial period to see if better revenues could be achieved.


The Result

30% Increase in Frequency Response Income

Prior to the qualification trials the grid operator expected that a frequency response time faster than 1-second was not necessary. However, the delivery of sub-150ms responses at the qualification trials in QK Cold Stores prompted a review of this requirement. This was a truly exceptional result, the fruit of deep collaboration between QK Cold Stores operations team and VIOTAS.
The electricity regulator determined that 150ms frequency response was worthy of a trebling of the multiplier for the Fast Frequency Response (FFR) demand side service. Overnight QK Cold Stores’ frequency response income potential increased by 30%. VIOTAS’ VIO Link technology with its 60ms frequency event detection capability, meant that QK Cold Stores could enter the market and not leave any money on the table. And since the electricity regulator chose to reward frequency response demand side services in proportion to the amount of renewable electricity on the grid, QK Cold Stores could expect their income to increase as the grid evolves.
Thanks to the success and revenues generated at the first site, QK Cold Stores expanded their demand response participation to an additional two sites, all managed and controlled by VIOTAS.

“Without even taking account of the revenue gained, we have seen real value in partnering with VIOTAS and having their equipment on-site.There have been several occasions where VIOTAS have gone above and beyond to help us out by providing data and insights which have helped us trace issues with our own equipment.

We have seen steady revenue from our partnership with VIOTAS with minimal disruption to our day-to-day operations, it is as they say a no-brainer and certainly the easiest revenue we make.

I wholeheartedly recommend VIOTAS as a trusted provider of demand side frequency response. Their expertise, commitment to client satisfaction, and track record of delivering excellent results make them an ideal partner for any organisation seeking to be more efficient in how and when energy is used. Real people committed to their mission.”

Brian Galvin
QK Coldstores Ltd.