Heat flexibility in 2030: reducing the demand on the National Gird

With the threat of blackouts this winter and the National Grid offering rebates to businesses and some homes who decrease their energy demand during the peak times there is a greater call for products that can use power flexibly. This would mean charging when the energy demand is low and then deploying the heat over the course of the day as needed, levelling out the demand on the grid.

Thermal Storage UK has published a report on the potential of heat flexibility in 2030 and how this could support the UK’s demand for energy. The report offers valuable insight into reducing the peaks and troughs the grid faces as we decarbonise our electricity system. 

The report was based on research carried out by LCP Delta consultants, who estimated that if thermal storage was used in just 2.4 million UK homes, we could reduce peak demand on the coldest day of the year by 1.6GW in 2030. 

Good news all round

The grid benefits from a reduction in the pressures caused by peak demands, the customer benefits from being able to maintain a warm, comfortable home whilst using a low carbon heating system and everyone benefits from a significant reduction in the UK’s overall carbon emissions. 

With the addition of smart charging, the grid would be able to divert excess generation into thermal storage products, rather than curtailing renewable energy.

Are there any potential issues? 

At the moment the national grid and its distribution partners are not fully geared up for the UK population to turn to electricity for their heating and hot water. Updates would need to be carried out to the current infrastructure in order to meet this increase in electricity demand. 

We need more time of use tariffs with varying price signals to allow more technologies to support a dynamic and flexible electricity system. This would offer greater encouragement for customers to charge whenever renewable electricity is available.

As a member of thermal storage UK we welcome this report and the work carried out by LCP to show the benefits of products that can offer grid flexibility and reduce demand fluctuations. The full link to the report can be found here https://www.thermalstorage.org.uk/publications and Thermal Storage UK are welcoming feedback and opportunities to further the conversation.