UK: Better Electricity Management with Energy Storage.

The government of UK knows very well that better electricity management will pay benefits for energy consumers of all scales. With the bonus of increased security and sustainability of the electricity grid itself.

In these past few years, various small-scale incentives have aimed at encouraging energy management. In recent weeks the British government has upped the ante. Specifically, it has sought to pump-prime innovation in the technology of energy management.  The focus is on two critical areas of energy storage and demand-side response (DSR). An essential platform for The UK Governments industrial strategy.

The government has focused the brunt of investment initially on the energy storage side with the unveiling of a £246 million competition to encourage manufacturers to develop battery technology.

The Farraday Challenge.

The initial phase of the competition  “called the Faraday Challenge” along with the associated development of a Battery Institute, to harness academic research. The plan is to hone in on automotive battery development, where the need is judged to be greatest. Subsequent phases will encourage battery technology as a means of energy storage.

The second element, DSR, is addressed in a position paper the government has called “Smart Systems and Flexibility.” Which it describes as “a plan to make the U.K.’s energy system smarter.” It also says “will help reduce energy bills, balance demand on the grid and realise up to £40 billion of benefits.” All of this while enabling homes and businesses to manage their electricity use better.

The critical element of this plan is that it will open up new markets by addressing regulatory barriers to electricity storage while driving down costs for consumers through better demand management. The government wants to make it easier for consumers to access smart technologies and in particular to develop the market for “smart appliances.”

Of course, these developments offer great potential for developers of what we might term “energy sector technology.” There is also no small sense of excitement in the HVAC sector, as to how it can become involved. It seems clear that it can play a crucial role in both DSR and energy storage in its most comprehensive terms.

In The U.S.

Readers in the U.S. will also be familiar with the standard load-shifting principle of ice banking, but this hasn’t yet really come into play in Europe, so again this offers exciting territory for further research.

And let’s not forget that there is also plenty of scope for renewable energy systems such as solar in the form of lithium-ion battery technology. Enabling users, both large and small, domestic and commercial, to store energy for later use.

These are rapidly-changing times for those involved in energy technology. The HVAC industry needs to ensure that it plays its part in the revolution.