The National Grid has launched the second stage of its EQUINOX (Equitable Novel Flexibility Exchange) trial, which allows heat pumps to provide flexibility services.
The first trial of the project was launched in December 2022 and saw its 386 participants within its distribution license areas displace 10.8MWh of energy by turning off their heat pumps for 22 two-hour periods between 5-7pm, in exchange for energy bills savings over the trial period.
Funded by the Ofgem Network Innovation Competition (NIC), feedback was “overwhelmingly positive,” according to the National Grid, which reported that 92% of participants were “moderately or extremely satisfied” with their experience of the first trial.
The project is undertaken by the National Grid as part of its role a Distribution System Operator (DSO), as it works to develop new commercial and technical mechanisms to allow low-carbon heating to provide flexibility services, whilst ensuring that the needs of all consumers – including the fuel poor and those in vulnerable situations – remain met.
Project collaborators include Scottish Power, Octopus Energy and Sero.
“The initial results from our EQUINOX trials show that heat pump flexibility can help manage the demand on electricity through the distribution network while simultaneously saving customers money on their energy bills,” said Matt Watson, head of commercial and operability at National Grid DSO.
“As thousands more homes switch to heat pumps, flexible systems like this are going to be even more crucial to balance demand at key times. Trials like EQUINOX show that customers are willing to tweak their everyday lives to save money and help balance the system.”
The National Grid launched the second stage of the programme in November, with the trial expected to last until December 2025.