Britain’s biggest ever study of managing home power flexibility debuts next month, instigated by leading energy super-brands.
Covering upwards of 25,000 homes, the CrowdFlex experiment is backed by National-Grid ESO, SSEN, Octopus Energy and punning electronics firm Ohme.
Funded with Ofgem’s blessing as a Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) project, the study will probe energy use by customers, assessing how it changes in response to price signals. Octopus Energy’s smart tariffs will provide stimulus to, aided by Ohme’s smart EV chargers and mobile app.
National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios prophesy 11 million EVs on UK roads by 2030. Whitehall hopes 600,000 chargers a year will be being plugged by 2028.
CrowdFlex’s backers say the technologies offer a huge opportunity for effective use of flexibility, using renewable energy by shifting electricity demand into off-peak hours.
The trial’s two network operators will use its results better to understand domestic flexibility’s potential for balancing national and local grids.
National Grid ESO’s head of innovation Carolina Tortora went on, “This project will give us some really exciting insights.
“As greater volumes of less controllable renewable power join the system, electricity consumers are only going to become more important in that balancing act.”
Octopus Energy’s co-founder James Eddison added, “By scaling up our previous trials and joining forces with other key players, for the first time we can find out how big the role is that our homes can play in providing grid flexibility.
“This project will help us demonstrate how we can use energy storage in our homes and flexible energy demand to exploit renewable energy and bring about the clean, green grid of the future, globally.”
From within the BP empire, a smaller flex project analysing power use by UK homes debuts this summer, centring on solar-fed batteries and a cloud-based Virtual Power Plant.
Pure Planet will use Lightsource Labs’ Tribe electronics for home energy management. Against the retailer’s time of use tariff, a benchmark 20% drop in bills may be possible, the parties believe, for homes benefitting from a rooftop solar system.
If committed resources top 1MW by next year, the two companies will speed up the trial’s commercialisation.