A brave new world for our future energy system


“The needs of the windmill must override everything else…”, Orwell, 1945.

Over this bank weekend holiday in May 2020 @Octopus_Energy begin their demand side management experimental the #BigSwitchOn see - https://octopus.energy/introducing-big-switch/ This is a small trial for what could nudge a change in consumer behaviour necessary to ensure that renewable energy is utilised to its fullest capacity on the network, rather than being reserved in favour of dynamic gas fired generation.

In terms of the reshaping of the future energy market for #netzero, how do we ensure that vulnerable consumers can have equal access to the economies that domestic energy usage scheduling could bring? There are likely cost penalties for out of cheap period usage and big benefits for those able to balance their own demands, so being energy wise at home is key and understanding the load requirements of appliances will mean you optimise for the lowest cost per kWh, or even getting paid (subject to phased load limits) for what you can utilise and perhaps store for later.

To get the best out of it, you really need an energy storage technology unless you are willing to be very careful about what and when you utilise energy in the home? Who will pay to enable low income #fuelpoor homes to have electrical or thermal storage systems installed and support the necessary education? It is important that we see the emerging picture here. This trial is very limited and consumers needed to have a smart meter to be involved. The small impact that this has on the current May bank holiday renewable utilisation profile will not disrupt what those in the traditional domestic energy market are paying.

However, if this is the market future that enables #netzero, what will ultimately act as the system balance for the economy in this game? Will we still need all those people paying over the odds for their on-peak electricity? To have the cheap seats on Ryanair flights, some passengers are paying over the odds for their ticket. In the future energy market, we must ensure its not low income consumers in #fuelpoverty being exploited to enable the more affluent and tech enabled consumers to enjoy being paid for their energy use.

The people need access to an energy system that is net zero and which allows them equal access to utilise its environment friendly amenity to improve their lives. What we really don’t need for our future energy system is one that is just “milling corn” for the few.