Demonstrating demand response from water distribution system through pump scheduling

Ruben Menke*, Edo Abraham, Panos Parpas, Ivan Stoianov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Significant changes in the power generation mix are posing new challenges for the balancing systems of the grid. Many of these challenges are in the secondary electricity grid regulation services and could be met through demand response (DR) services. We explore the opportunities for a water distribution system (WDS) to provide balancing services with demand response through pump scheduling and evaluate the associated benefits. Using a benchmark network and demand response mechanisms available in the UK, these benefits are assessed in terms of reduced green house gas (GHG) emissions from the grid due to the displacement of more polluting power sources and additional revenues for water utilities. The optimal pump scheduling problem is formulated as a mixed-integer optimisation problem and solved using a branch and bound algorithm. This new formulation finds the optimal level of power capacity to commit to the provision of demand response for a range of reserve energy provision and frequency response schemes offered in the UK. For the first time we show that DR from WDS can offer financial benefits to WDS operators while providing response energy to the grid with less greenhouse gas emissions than competing reserve energy technologies. Using a Monte Carlo simulation based on data from 2014, we demonstrate that the cost of providing the storage energy is less than the financial compensation available for the equivalent energy supply. The GHG emissions from the demand response provision from a WDS are also shown to be smaller than those of contemporary competing technologies such as open cycle gas turbines. The demand response services considered vary in their response time and duration as well as commitment requirements. The financial viability of a demand response service committed continuously is shown to be strongly dependent on the utilisation of the pumps and the electricity tariffs used by water utilities. Through the analysis of range of water demand scenarios and financial incentives using real market data, we demonstrate how a WDS can participate in a demand response scheme and generate financial gains and environmental benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-387
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Demand response
  • GHG emission mitigation
  • Optimisation
  • Pump scheduling
  • Water distribution systems


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