How can hot water tanks help balance the national grid?

What is it?

Demand Side Response (DSR) is a deliberate change in an industrial, commercial (or in the Pete Project’s case, a private household) user’s natural patterns of metered electricity, brought about by a signal from another party. In terms of the Pete Project, DSR is being used to aid the national grid in balancing the intermittent generation of wind and solar units. At times when large amounts of wind and solar energy are being generated there might not necessarily be the demand to absorb it (e.g. a beautifully sunny day when everyone is on the beach, or a really windy night when everyone is asleep); at times like this large amounts of “clean”, renewable energy is being produced but as there is no demand a lot of this energy will be wasted. This is because only certain amounts of electricity can be uploaded onto the National grid meaning in order to upload more of this clean electricity, the electricity on the grid needs to be used. This is where the Pete Project comes in. The Mixergy hot water tanks and Powervault batteries are intelligent in that they can connect to the cloud. This in turn means that when the grid is congested with electricity the tanks can be remotely turned on and charged pulling power from the grid and freeing up ‘space’ for more to be uploaded. The HWTs and batteries that the Pete Project is installing will provide the grid with enough storage capacity to store 1MW of electricity; this would be 1MW of clean energy that would have previously been wasted.

Benefits of DSR

  • With more clean energy being uploaded onto the national grid there is less demand for the older power stations to be turned on. These are normally older coal fired power stations which release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere contributing to global warming[1]
  • DSR could also reduce the amount we have to pay towards maintaining the electricity network which is designed to cope with the few hours a year of peak demand.[2]
  • If just 5% of peak demand is met by demand side response solutions, collectively we could save up to approximately £200 million a year [3]
  • BEIS and Ofgem suggest that a more flexible energy system could save the UK £17–40 billion to 2050[4]