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Centrica and Glen Dimplex to trial storage heaters in VPP

Glen Dimplex is installing Quantum storage heaters in 375 homes. Image: Centrica.

Glen Dimplex is installing Quantum storage heaters in 375 homes. Image: Centrica.

Centrica is adding storage heaters to its virtual power plant (VPP) for the first time, as it prepares to launch a new trial with Glen Dimplex.

Storage heaters will be installed in around 375 properties, and will operate using renewable energy when there is a surplus on the system and pausing when demand threatens to outstrip generation.

The new devices will add 2.5MW of capacity to the 16MW of domestic devices – including battery storage, electric vehicles and smart hot water tanks – that already sit within the VPP.

Glen Dimplex will install the Quantum off-peak heaters for local authorities and affordable housing providers.

“This is the cheapest form of direct-electric heating, and can help social housing providers to combat fuel poverty,” said Muiris Flynn, chief technical officer at Glen Dimplex.

“By aligning with renewable generation we’re providing a low carbon, maintenance free, simple to install and easy to use heating system that ensures residents’ bills are kept at a minimum.”

The trial will run from September for two years, helping to establish the role storage heaters could play in balancing the grid.

Centrica has been building out its VPP over recent years to provide additional flexibility, including hitting a 1MW of flexibility milestone with Mixergy in their rollout of electric hot water tanks.

Whilst in February, Ofgem approved Centrica’s proposal to trial the provision of flexibility services in the Balancing Mechanism.

Stavros Sachinis, head of IOT optimisation at Centrica, said: “This is another fantastic proof point of the capability embedded within the Hive Honeycomb platform, helping to bring the value of demand side response and virtual power plants to homes across the UK.”

Glen Dimplex has already been involved in a number of flexibility trials in Britain, including partnering with Kaluza and EDF for a trial in 2020.


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