Monday, 2 June 2014

How communities will shape the demand for electricity as well as the supply

The new UK Community Energy Scheme will encourage communities to generate their own electricity - and feed it into the Grid- if the local distribution companies, (the DNO's as they are known)  allow them to.

Currently, both the National Grid and DNO's such as Western Power Distribution are warning us that the capacity of the system to take any more power from renewable sources is less than that already thought to be in the pipeline.

So unless the big commercial operators are severely curtailed, some local communities will be told that there is no more room on the grid for their sub 5MW schemes.

What might their reaction be?

Initially, probably anger at being led up the garden path once again. But it may then occur to some of them that a solution lies in their own hands - managing domestic demand to meet the supply from renewables, or at least to lop peaks and fill troughs in demand, which are the bugbears of the Grid and transmission companies.

It will start to be in the economic interests of communities and their members, i.e. all of us, to manage our demand rationally in line with available supply.

We may find that we are unwilling to wait until 2020 for the rollout of smart meters before doing so.

We may even be able to enlist the support of the system operators as allies rather than as perceived adversaries.