Smarter Grids could slash consumer energy costs

Policy changes to reward consumers for the value they can bring to the power networks could cause dramatic drops in energy bills

Immediate Release: 29th October 2013

Consumers’ energy bills could be reduced by hundreds of pounds per year by adopting smarter domestic heat and electricity systems. This will allow consumers to be properly rewarded for the money they save utilities by producing their own power when it is expensive to buy, by using power at times it is cheaper to produce, and for providing other services to the grid.

In the research, conducted by Ecuity Consulting LLP, jointly for the Micropower Council and the Electricity Storage Network, microgeneration and storage are found to enhance consumer benefits significantly in an increasingly competitive and smarter energy environment. The research also looks at the scope to reduce consumer bills considerably once certain regulatory reforms are put in place.

Ilias Vazaios, Partner, Ecuity commented;

“Ecuity was delighted to collaborate with the Micropower Council and the Electricity Storage Network to develop this study which demonstrates the potential of small-scale generation within a fast-changing smarter energy system. The study builds on Ecuity’s work in this area with a diverse range of policy stakeholders and industry players from across the supply chain to develop policy frameworks and commercial models that work. Ecuity will continue working actively to develop tangible and practical solutions for its clients helping them contribute to the success of the emerging smart agenda.”

Dave Sowden, Chief Executive, Micropower Council commented;

“This is a landmark piece of research. It clearly shows that microgeneration of both heat and electricity creates considerably greater financial and economic benefits, but customers cannot presently be rewarded for this. We know smart grids can work at a technical level, but for the first time, we now have a clear route map for how to make them work commercially and financially. The regulatory and policy reforms identified in this report will lead to permanently lower bills, less dependency on imported fossil fuels, as well as cutting emissions”.

Dr. Jill Cainey, Electricity Storage Network commented;

“The Electricity Storage Network was pleased to work with the Micropower Council and Ecuity to assess the role that microgeneration and storage would have in delivering a smarter energy system, facilitating the delivery of sustainable and secure electricity to consumers, at an affordable cost. Our joint report clearly demonstrates the value of storage, particularly in conjunction with flexible pricing, to maximise the benefits of secure and affordable electricity for microgenerators and consumers. The Electricity Storage Network is actively engaged with a broad range of stakeholders to promote the deployment of electricity storage as an integral part of the low carbon energy system.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Smart Grids, Microgeneration & Storage: Commercialising the benefits was produced by Ecuity Consulting LLP and commissioned by the Micropower Council and the Electricity Storage Network for launch in October 2013. The report can be downloaded in full online by the following link:Smart Grids, Microgeneration & Storage: Commercialising the benefits
  2. The Micropower Council is a cross-industry body whose membership comprises of electricity and gas companies, manufacturers, installers, trade associations, professional bodies, nongovernmental organisations and charities in the microgeneration sector. We provide the microgeneration industry’s main focal point for Government, regulators, Parliament, opinion formers and the general public on regulation and public policy issues. For more information, see: www.micropower.co.uk
  3. Electricity Storage Network is the special interest group of companies and organisations that are active in the deployment, design and research of electricity storage for network connected applications. We work with Government, the Regulatory bodies, industry and academia to promote the benefits of electricity storage, see: http://www.electricitystorage.co.uk
  4. Ecuity is a specialist consultancy focused on sustainable energy policy. Our consultancy services cover Regulatory Insight, Commercial Strategy, Influencing Campaigns and a 2015 Election Watch programme. Ecuity’s mission is to make sustainable energy mainstream by using unique strategic insight to connect the commercial day to day reality of running a business and the political challenges of sustainable energy policy making. See more at: www.ecuity.com
  5. Report scope and objectives:

There are a number of major opportunities ahead to enable key microgeneration technologies (heat pumps, micro CHP and solar PV with storage) and storage such as the roll out of smart meters and measures under Retail Market Reform. Greater take up of microgeneration would encourage consumer engagement with the energy market favouring bills reductions during times of rising prices. It also has the potential to reduce costs involved in managing the network in light of growing demand unpredictability and variable renewable energy supply.

The development of appropriate policy and market mechanisms to reflect the value of microgeneration capacity and incentivise demand side response is key. Developments such as the Capacity Market, National Grid’s proposed Demand Side Balancing Reserve (DSBR) or the emergence of more flexible time-of-use electricity pricing could create an additional income stream for intelligent homes that appropriately reflects system value and provides necessary incentive for domestic level response to market signals.

Unlocking this value is a step towards enhancing viability of domestic and local energy solutions and enabling the emergence of a more competitive, consumer-driven and multilateral energy system.

The Micropower Council and the Electricity Storage Network aim to use this paper as a framework for constructive collaboration with a wide range of industry and policy stakeholders with the aim of improving consumer engagement, enhancing commercialisation potential and reflecting the value of more flexible low carbon and renewable technologies at the domestic and local level.

Contacts;

Ilias Vazaios
Partner
Ecuity Consulting LLP
Phone No: +44 (0)121 709 5587
Email: info@ecuity.com

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Dr. Jill Cainey
Electricity Storage Network
Phone No: +44 (0) 01666 840948
info@swanbarton.co.uk

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Tom Higgins
Member & Communications Manager
Micropower Council
Phone No: 0121 709 5587
info@micropower.co.uk