Centrica and Mixergy have hit a 1MW of flexibility milestone in their rollout of electric hot water tanks.
The companies began rolling out the residential hot water tanks in a partnership in 2019, entering them into a virtual power plant (VPP) managed by Centrica.
The Mixergy tank combines sensory and IoT technologies, which keep track of hot water levels in the tank. It learns usage patterns of households and tailors water volumes to ensure there is heat just when it is needed.
Additionally, this means that the tanks have the capacity to absorb surplus energy from intermittent renewables such as wind and solar PV, helping to manage the grid and avoid curtailment.
Together the companies have now installed 1,000 tanks in homes across the UK, allowing the VPP to provide 1MW of flexible power to National Grid. With the rollout of tanks continuing, the project has the potential to deliver up to 2.6MW.
“Grid operators have suggested that as many as 23 million homes will need to install new low-carbon heating solutions by 2050,” said Stavros Sachinis, head of IOT optimisation at Centrica. “If a quarter of those included smart hot water solutions, such as Mixergy, we’d be in a position to utilise as much as 15GW of flexible power which is more than the currently installed offshore wind capacity in the UK.”
Centrica invested in Oxford University spin-off Mixergy in 2019 through its Innovations business. In 2020, it also raised £3.6 million to continue its rollout of hot water tanks for firm frequency response, as well as to fund its next stage of growth.
“Reaching the 1MW milestone is the culmination of 2 years of collaboration with Centrica,” saod Pete Armstrong, Mixergy’s CEO. “It’s really fantastic to be working with Centrica to help our energy system decarbonise whilst helping householders save on their energy bills with the Mixergy tank.”
Current± caught up with Mixergy last year to find out more about their unique demand side response services offering.