More than £130 million could have been saved in electricity grid costs during the lockdown period if GB had a more “intelligent” and flexible energy system, according to an industry group.
The Flexibility First Forum said that greater use of demand-side response, electric vehicle (EV) smart charging and technology such as home solar batteries which intelligently use power during periods of low demand would have seen a 27 per cent reduction in balancing costs for National Grid and cut energy bills.
Flexible storage capacity from six million electric vehicles could have provided the grid with an extra 3.6TWh of energy.
During lockdown, high levels of renewable generation and record low energy demand have created balancing challenges for the electricity system operator and led to increased balancing costs estimated at some £500m.
In a letter to regulator Ofgem from the industry group it said the bank holiday weekends have been a “wake up call” over the need for a flexible, digital grid to make the most of cheap renewable power.
“Despite successful real-world results and commitments from Ofgem and the Government to create a more intelligent system, the market frameworks that would enable these smart technologies to support the energy system are not yet in place,” it said.
“While reforms are underway, it’s not certain they will go far and fast enough in delivering the signals that tell users when they should be charging for cheaper, greener energy.”