Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Demand Response - you ain't seen nothin' yet!

In order to accommodate more than token (10-15% of peak demand) amounts of renewable electricity on the grid in  UK, we will need to adjust our demand to meet available generation on a hitherto unprecedented scale.

This will mean:

·         Switching almost everything that is not essential off after dark if the wind is not blowing
·         Because the wind sometimes does not blow hard for weeks at a time in mid-winter, any storage will need to be capable of providing power for much more than a day or two.

There is a way of reducing this – a global renewable grid so that those parts of the world which have very high demand on winter evenings are supplied from places where the sun is still shining – e.g. Western Europe from Texas. (At the peak UK demand time, it’s around midday in Texas).
A first step to this is the Iceland – Scotland undersea link, initially to provide geothermal electricity to Europe.

The less we like the idea of these mega-projects and their financial and environmental costs, the more we will need to think about –and implement- demand management.
The time to start is now.  It will take many years or decades from early adopters like you and I doing something about it to mainstream action having a decisive effect.