A plan to give homes and businesses more control over their energy use and support innovative new technologies as part of the Industrial Strategy has been outlined by Ofgem and Business & Energy Secretary Greg Clark.
The proposal aims to transform how homes and businesses store and use energy, removing barriers to smart technology and ultimately reducing costs for end-users – something that will be discussed in depth at the Energy Management Summit in October.
The report, ‘Upgrading Our Energy System’ says over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is already being generated through renewables such as wind and solar, much of it located close to homes and businesses.
Meanwhile, new technologies that help store and manage energy are emerging and the costs are falling.
Regulator Ofgem says changes provide an opportunity to create new businesses and jobs in the UK. At the same time new technologies like smart meters, along with other improvements to manage the energy system will help the country save up to £40bn on energy costs over decades to come.
As part of the Industrial Strategy, the Government has committed to modernising the UK’s energy system and developing a business environment where new entrants to the market can compete. This, it says, will also allow industry to develop innovative new products and services, creating thousands of jobs.
The plan will also make it easier for new businesses to help customers that are interested in reducing, or increasing, their energy use at certain times, which can help balance the calls on the electricity network.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system. A smarter energy system will create new businesses and high-skilled jobs, while making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with demand.
“It’s an important part of our Industrial Strategy, given its potential to reduce energy costs, increase productivity, and put UK businesses in a leading position to export smart energy technology and services to the rest of the world.”
By rolling out smart meters, enabling suppliers to offer lower tariffs and making it easier for firms to develop smart appliances and gadgets, the plan will help consumers use energy when it is cheapest or get rewarded for returning it to the grid when it is needed.
The plan also recognises the role that energy storage can play in a smart energy grid and the opportunities presented by falling costs of battery technologies designed to store surplus energy. To allow industry to exploit these new technologies Government and Ofgem have committed to removing barriers to the introduction of this technology into our power network.
Andrew Wright, Senior Partner, Energy Systems, Ofgem, said: “The way we are generating and using energy in Britain is changing rapidly. Today’s plan sets out how Ofgem, Government and the industry will work together to modernise the energy system and make sure consumers get the benefits of the changes.
“We want to open the door to new technologies and services so that they can help to reduce bills for consumers in the long term. It is vital that we get the changes in place as there is potential for a smarter system to save consumers billions between now and 2050.”
The full implementation of the plan to move to a smarter energy system alongside other changes could help save the country up to £40bn over the coming decades, according to research conducted for BEIS by Imperial College and the Carbon Trust.