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Flexible localised renewable energy networks in UK

Centrica (accessed) 24th Aug 2018 , By 2040 Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that more than half of global
energy capacity will come from renewables and flexible sources, such as
battery storage and demand side response. At 7% of global capacity,
flexible sources such as batteries and demand side response – where homes
and businesses automatically cut energy usage a peak times – will account
for the same level of global energy capacity as oil-fired power plants

And more than half of this energy storage capacity will come from
small-scale batteries installed by households and businesses alongside
rooftop solar panels.

This trend away from larger power plants and towards
smaller, decentralised energy systems is happening in both developed and
developing nations. The decarbonisation trend is being accelerated by the
falling price of renewable energy technology, and the availability of
technology such as batteries that makes it easier to store electricity.
This in turn accelerates decentralisation, as renewables are by their
nature smaller and more spread out than the equivalent capacity provided by
a traditional power plant.

The rate of decarbonisation and decentralisation
is being accelerated by digital technology, giving people the power to
save, or even make, money by being more flexible with their energy use,
while helping electricity grid operators to balance supply and demand.

Europe’s largest demand side response aggregator, REstore, was acquired
by Centrica in 2017. Centrica CEO Iain Conn says he expects demand side
response to become one of the fastest growing elements of the energy market
over the next few years. From smart home products such as Hive that allow
home owners to control their energy use from their smartphone, through to
companies like REstore employing artificial intelligence to calculate just
how much energy capacity a factory can offer as a virtual power plant.
Energy, like every other sector, is going digital.

Greater insight through
digital technology is just the start of the shift of power away from energy
companies and towards the customer. Centrica is currently piloting a
project in the south west of England that will allow local residents and
businesses to buy and sell energy between themselves without the
intervention of their energy supplier. The £19 million Local Energy Market
in Cornwall is enabling 200 homes and businesses to do this using a digital
record known as Blockchain. It is used to create a secure electronic ledger
of transactions between participants. Iain Conn says he believes such local
networks will become the norm in a new decentralised energy market.


August 26, 2018 - Posted by | decentralised, UK

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