National Grid and SSE to harness surplus wind to heat off grid homes


A project is underway to use excess wind generation to heat Highlands homes.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, National Grid ESO, plus partners Delta-EE, Everoze and PassivSystems, think up to 380,000 households could benefit.

The 4D Heat pilot, with spending allowed under Ofgem’s innovation programme, will target communities north of the Highlands that are off the gas grid, but already in hot-spots of electrified home heating, and – importantly – where there is potential to expand those hot-spots.

If successful, the project addresses multiple problems. National Grid ESO spends tens of millions of pounds curtailing output from wind farms each year. It does this to keep the grid stable. With more wind coming on to the system, there will be more periods of excess generation.

Using excess power to heat homes helps solve that challenge. If the heat infrastructure is also made smart, it can become an additional source of flexibility for local and national system operators.

Meanwhile, homes off the gas grid tend to pay more to heat their homes, and are more likely to be in fuel poverty. The 4D Heat pilot could help address both issues, as well as helping to decarbonise heat, one of the biggest challenges in delivering net zero.

Additionally, it should help gauge the impact on power grids of greater electrification of heat. All new Scots homes built after 2023 must be heated from low-carbon sources, following a Holyrood edict announced in January.

”Reducing the amount of wind curtailed, as well as improving the business case for low-carbon electric heat, would be a major step forward on our path to a net zero carbon economy, said Cian McLeavey-Reville, innovation strategy manager at NG-ESO.

Kate Jones, SSEN’s project manager commented: “This project will look at how people’s homes can be made warm and comfortable, whilst making best use of the energy available. It will also investigate how smart electric heating can help to balance the grid, which as the network operator we would welcome, to help keep costs low for everyone.”

Related stories:

3% of Britain’s wind power wasted in 2017

Western Link failure sees National Grid pay £31m to turn off wind farms

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  1. People live off the grid because do not want to rely companies/others and their freedom to choose on heating and power, its been the way for millions of years. They had horse and water power power and fires also candles made from tallow from animals. Also warmth from food and animal skins, live in a Scottish Black House. Do you need a lot off money and bills if your fit?
    Some have come gradually into the 20th Century with generators powered by wind charging batteries also Inverters. You would only change if needs and life changes also win the lottery or premium bonds if you buy them. Things imposed on people are for others benefits. Give me home in the wild with nature and life will get better if I was fit and younger. I have lived off the grid in a town people did not like it. I would do it again. 10 days camping in the rain is hardship enough and its to dry outside can you do a rain dance..


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