- Transitioning to a net zero energy system: smart systems and flexibility plan 2021
Last month (July) the government published its plan on how we will transition to a smart, flexible, and decarbonised energy system.
Project LEO welcomes the publication as it focuses on how we can deliver a zero carbon future with a smart flexible energy system. One that understands the importance of local delivery and includes people and communities.
The report acknowledges the importance of flexibility in helping us achieve the deep decarbonisation we need to protect our planet as well as delaying or even avoiding costly network upgrades.
“It will be very difficult to achieve the deep power sector decarbonisation needed to achieve the sixth Carbon Budget without significantly higher levels of system flexibility.”
It highlights the important role individuals will play in the new emerging energy system. There will be more opportunities for people to get involved, for example, by signing up to new energy tariffs and using smart appliances in our homes to save money by using electricity when it’s cheaper to do so.
A key part of our work in Project LEO is understanding how the transition to a zero carbon energy system can benefit everyone (see our Smart and Fair Neighbourhood trials) and not just a select few who will have access to solar panels or an electric vehicle. The plan mentions fairness and inclusivity a number of times and we’re pleased to see this receiving attention.
We’re aware that although the new system will mean people can participate in a way they haven’t been able to before – e.g. flexing their energy use or providing flexibility services directly – not everyone will want or be able to do this. The report states: “…those who do not participate will still receive fair and affordable outcomes.”
Project LEO features as a case study example of a project seeking to understand the role local energy can play in delivering flexibility services. Our multi partner and cross sector approach gets a particular mention.
“The Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme is demonstrating how a range of local actors including businesses, communities, local authorities and academics can accelerate decarbonisation through innovative business models that engage people and unlock system flexibility at the edges of the energy system.”
You can read the full paper here.
Data and Digitalisation Strategy
Alongside this, the government also published its ‘Digitalising our energy system for net zero’ strategy and action plan. It highlights the importance of data and digitalisation in helping us reach our net zero targets, as we incorporate lots more low carbon technologies – solar panels, battery storage, heat pumps, electric vehicles – onto our networks.
Digitalisation will enable better visibility of renewable technologies on the system, help manage the markets, and reward customers who reduce their energy use at certain times.
The strategy highlights that a digitalised energy system will provide lots of benefits for people as well as helping support customers by finding a place or time to charge their electric vehicle, or set the right temperate for their heating system or remotely switch on the dishwasher to take advantage of lower prices.
You can read the full strategy here.