Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Time for a new approach to electricity - how we can solve the energy trilemma together. Introduction
Time to make electricity affordable.
Time to save the planet.
Time to keep the lights on.
If I told you that you could make a significant contribution to doing this without even reducing how much you use, and without any expensive equipment, would you believe me?
Most people probably wouldn’t.
They might say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there must be a catch.
But there isn’t!
In the UK, every winter weekday, from 3 to 8pm, peaking at around 5.30, we use seven large power stations ( 7 Gigawatts) worth of electricity more than we do at any other time. Why? Because some people are coming home from school and from work, and it’s getting dark. Most offices, factories and shops are still working.
But here’s the good news – that peak, which is about 14% above the normal daytime level, can be easily avoided.
If we all shifted our consumption out of the peak by an average of just 350W (3½ bright old fashioned light bulbs) the problem would be solved.
If you ask people in the electricity industry, most of them will tell you that the problem will be solved by smart meters – unfortunately it won’t!
Smart meters in themselves will not switch anything off, much less work out when to delay consumption for specific appliances. They will allow for more complicated time-of-use tariffs in future, which will penalize us for using electricity at peak times, but even these will rely on us to respond by switching things off or delaying them coming on.