UK energy system upgrade: Govt. aims to save economy up to £40bn

A new plan to give homes and businesses more control over their energy use and support innovative new technologies, as part of the Industrial Strategy, has been published by the Brit-Govt.

Greg Clark, MP, the British Business and Energy Secretary said the innovative plan will transform how homes and businesses store and use energy and will deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system by removing barriers to smart and battery technology, reducing costs for consumers.

Over 25% of the UK’s electricity is being generated through renewables such as wind and solar, much of it located close to homes and businesses. New technologies that help store and manage energy are emerging and the costs are falling.

These changes provide an opportunity to create new businesses and jobs in the UK. At the same time new smart technologies like smart meters – and appliances you can control from your mobile phone – along with other improvements to manage the energy system will help the country save up to £40 billion on energy costs over decades to come.

Greg Clark, MP
Greg Clark, MP

Clark said: “Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system. A smarter energy system will create new businesses and high-skilled jobs, while making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with demand.

“By rolling out smart meters, enabling suppliers to offer lower tariffs and making it easier for firms to develop smart appliances and gadgets, the plan will help consumers use energy when it is cheapest or get rewarded for returning it to the grid when it is needed.

“We are committed to modernising the UK’s energy system and developing a business environment where new entrants to the market can compete. This will also allow industry to develop innovative new products and services, creating thousands of jobs.

“This upgrade of our energy system is an important part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Energy is an essential input to all economic activity.

The plan also recognises the role that energy storage can play in a smart energy grid and the opportunities presented by falling costs of battery technologies designed to store surplus energy.

To allow industry to exploit these new technologies Government and OFGEM have committed to removing barriers to the introduction of this technology into our power network.

Andrew Wright, head of Energy Systems at OFGEM, said: “The way we are generating and using energy in Britain is changing rapidly..

“We want to open the door to new technologies and services so that they can help to reduce bills for consumers in the long term. It is vital that we get the changes in place as there is potential for a smarter system to save consumers billions between now and 2050.”

The plan will also make it easier for new businesses to help customers that are interested in reducing, or increasing, their energy use at certain times, which can help balance the calls on the electricity network.

The full implementation of the plan to move to a smarter energy system alongside other changes could help save the country up to £40 billion over the coming decades, according to research conducted for BEIS by Imperial College and the Carbon Trust.

Case study: Moixa batteries

British company Moixa offers residential battery systems which can help manage energy demands across the electricity network, make better use of energy generated by rooftop solar panels, and enable suppliers to reward consumers who charge their batteries during periods of low demand, when prices are lower.

These systems have been deployed in nearly 1,000 homes across the UK, and Moixa calculate that they could help consumers save up to 60% on their electricity bills.

25 July 2017

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