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Half of consumers happy to manage energy use five days a week, finds SPEN trial

Participants in the trial were made aware of periods that had abundant generation, allowing them to shift consumption to those times. Image: SPEN.

Participants in the trial were made aware of periods that had abundant generation, allowing them to shift consumption to those times. Image: SPEN.

Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) has hailed the success of its Flexibility Demand Shift Trial.

Working with Octopus Energy, the trial saw the network operator notify the supplier when there was high generation output on the system forecast. Octopus then told participating customers to shift their energy usage to manage these periods, helping to balance the network.

Over the course of the trial, which took place in Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire, 20.2MWh of total demand was shifted, with a 1.68MW average per demand shift event.

“The trial gave us the opportunity to understand customer behaviour and how they responded to near-time signals and serves as an indicator of future potential as we transition to green technologies like heat pumps and EVs, which will increase domestic energy loads,” said Scott Mathieson, SPEN network planning and regulation director.

“Flexibility removes the need in some areas for costly and often-time consuming traditional network reinforcement and allows customers to capitalise on the opportunities arising from a transition to a smarter grid and low carbon future. Our thanks to everyone who took part for their input to helping shape our network management of the future.”

Of those who participated in the trial, 98% found the experience beneficial and easy to do. Nearly half (46%) said they would consider managing their energy use five days a week, one in five (22%) said they would manage it three days a week and every customer involved said they were prepared to manage their energy at least once a week.

“We have this amazing power grid which spans across the entire country, connecting every household and every generator in the UK. By tweaking how we consume power, we can make the most of every green electron generated in the UK and bring down costs for all,” said Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, chief marketing and product officer at Octopus Energy Group.

“This trial was just the first step proving that people are happy to make small adjustments to help the grid and save cash. With a much larger campaign we would be able to really move the needle towards the flexible energy system we need for a greener future.”

Octopus Energy has been involved in a number of demand shifting trials in the UK, including the Shift trial run by UK Power Networks and a new ‘turndown’ flexibility trial together with National Grid ESO that is currently underway.

SPEN meanwhile has been increasing flexibility on its network in a number of ways, including sourcing 22MW from ev.energy as part of a £3.2 million contract and accepting 555MW of bids of flexibility services in November.

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