Thursday, 27 October 2016

A Traffic Light System to aid DSR in the Home

There are two situations when it is desirable from a supply perspective for consumers to reduce demand:

  • when the grid is approaching total available capacity
  • when local voltage is at a low level, i.e. approaching the minimum legal limit of 216V
There are also two situations when it is desirable for consumers to increase demand:
  • when supply is in danger of becoming unstable locally - for example when there is high PV generation and low demand.
  • when national demand falls below the level required to maintain nuclear generation and/or stability, which is also likely to be at times of high renewable generation.
All of this information and a recommendation for action can be automatically generated from publicly available data, such as national real-time demand, frequency, and local voltage.

This can be displayed in a simple matrix:

The consumer can then decide what action to take based on the recommendation and informed by the supply situation.

Can you help me turn this into a device or an app?

Friday, 21 October 2016

Can we have large scale CHP from existing power stations? Iceland does.

Iceland's Hellisheidi (pronounced heltliss-haydee, not Hell is Heidi!) geothermal power station sends 130 MW of heat along a 25 Km hot water pipe to Reykjavik, where virtually all buildings are district heated from it. It also produces 300MW of electricity.

Doesn't this call the bluff of those who say that it is impossible to use our relatively large gas fuelled - and nuclear -  power stations to provide CHP heat on a  multi-hundred Megawatt or even Gigawatt scale to British cities?

Heat is now a big issue for carbon reduction - we can't go on burning gas in small boilers just to heat our draughty houses for ever.

Is it time for a pilot CHP scheme? 

Perhaps we could heat Bristol from Hinkley C?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Last meeting of ECC Committee discusses DSR - a bit late?

The difficulties faced by companies such as Kiwi, Tempus and Passivsystems in delivering demand side response against regulatory inertia are highlighted in this discussion in front of the last meeting of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee before its absorption into the BEIS Committee.

The relevant discussion is at

staring at 10:15 on the video.

If we do not get this right, we are in danger of perpetuating highly polluting diesel or coal fired stations for peak supply.

It is not good enough to say that consumers don't understand it.

Behavioural issues must be addressed in tandem with regulatory change.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Disaggregation - a long word that can help us

About five years ago, I invited a new startup, Green Running, to show me their wares. I was looking for new ways to find out how much electricity we were using at Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, and where we were using it.

At that time, the technology was not yet there to analyse the existing signatures from different appliances that would allow their device to identify each one, and thereby provide easy to read information of consumption over time, appliance by appliance.

Green Running may now have the technology that can do just that. If so, we can all see exactly where we are using electricity and when, and take steps to reduce and/or time shift it.

If we all do this, we can do away with several large power stations, apart from making the lives of BEIS civil servants much easier - (a trivial benefit) -

 it will provide several key outcomes:

  • Substantially reducing the cost of providing new capacity
  • Substantially improving the forward reliability of our electricity system
  • Substantially reducing the carbon emissions per unit generated
Happy time-shifting!