Working closely with Ofgem, the UK Government have announced plans to revolutionise certain areas within the energy industry.
With demand for renewable power increasing across the country it has been recognised that our current electricity infrastructure is fast becoming outdated;
- Electricity is generated and sold to utility suppliers
- The grid distributes power around the country throughout the day, based on demand
- Energy suppliers charge consumers for power
The process is full of inefficiencies and it is difficult for newly emerging renewable sources and smaller, greener energy generators to integrate into the existing system and maximise their potential. With this in mind the plan is to modernise our existing setup in order to really take advantage of new technologies which can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
Very few specifics have been announced regarding the upgrades, however some of the planned changes include the following:
MORE BENEFITS FOR SOLAR PANEL OWNERS
Since the massive cut to the Feed-In Tariff in Jan 2016 it has been less attractive for property owners to install solar panels on their buildings. The planned upgrades to the power network aim to make it easier for solar panel owners to generate and store electricity, as well as more of a greater financial incentive for selling their surplus power back to the grid.
Under the current arrangement, panel owners are charged a fee to feed power into to the grid, which reduces the benefit of home generation. This fee pays for specialised equipment used to keep track of the unpredictable way in which homes across the country feed power into the grid, preventing the system from becoming overloaded.
The proposed upgrades to the grid should result in a far more adaptive and flexible system, negating the need for additional charges and as such allowing more profit for those generating power for the grid from home.
THE BATTERY INSTITUTE
In addition to the network upgrades plans have been announced to invest heavily in new battery technologies, helping both large and small power producers store surplus power more cheaply and efficiently. A total of £246million is to be invested through a series of competitions known as the Faraday Challenge, with the aim of increasing competition and innovation within the battery market.
The long-term aim is to bring together the brightest minds in the industry to form a ‘Battery Institute,’ allowing the UK to catch up with the storage market in Asia which is currently the World leader.
GREATER INTEGRATION FOR SMART HOMES AND APPLIANCES
Another innovation being rolled out is the implementation of smart usage opportunities. There is a statistic that if everybody in the UK turned off their TV rather than leaving it on standby, the electricity saved could power an entire house for a year. What if this could be applied to all electrical equipment within your home, without any extra input required from the residents?
The planned upgrades would permit homeowners and businesses to opt-in to allow certain machinery and equipment to be controlled by the grid via the internet. For instance, there would be financial incentives if owners would agree to allow the network to remotely switch off high power-consuming equipment, such as freezers or air conditioning units, for a few minutes at peak times. This process of ‘Demand Response’ is already available to very large buildings and commercial developments, but has never before been rolled out to residential properties or small businesses.
WILL IT WORK?
If the new system works as expected consumers are expected to save £17bn – £40bn by 2050, according to the Government and Ofgem. British Company Moixa was used as a case study; they offered domestic battery storage schemes to just under 1000 homes across the UK and incentivised energy suppliers to reward consumers who charged their batteries during periods of low demand. Moixa have reported savings of up to 60% on the electricity bills at the properties in question.
HOW CAN YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE?
With the added incentives for storage and generation looming, there is always the possibility that suppliers of this equipment will take advantage of the situation and raise their prices in anticipation of increasing interest in the technology. Acting early means you can take advantage of current costs and still be ready to make hay when the sun shines!
Our OPTIMeyes can arrange for a no cost / no obligation site review and can even install power generation and storage technology at zero upfront cost with a number of payback options including a share of savings agreement. The proposed changes are due to begin taking place towards the end of next year and those who are ready will be able to benefit from these new technologies like never before.
The energy industry and the Government want to reward those who are contributing to the grid and lowering the country’s carbon footprint so don’t be late to reap the rewards and remember, those who are first in will get the biggest rewards out!