National Grid’s CrowdFlex flexibility project has been awarded a second round of funding to advance the implementation of domestic flexibility.
CrowdFlex, the first round of which was completed in early 2022, established the potential of domestic flexibility in delivering up to 23% peak demand reduction and the desire of the industry for its active role in the energy markets.
The second round of funding from the regulator Ofgem is aimed to build further understanding around aspects such as system needs, the utilisation of domestic assets and data needs and modelling approaches for forecasting and to develop plans for a real-world trial.
In addition, the potential regulatory barriers will be addressed and a consumer engagement trial put in place.
“The funding announcement is an exciting next step to realising the role of domestic flexibility in the transition to net zero emissions,” said Nina Klein, Innovation Manager at National Grid ESO.
“In the next phase, we will gain a better understanding of the system challenges like peak demand, constraints and the potential balancing solutions which distributed domestic assets could provide.”
Overall objectives of CrowdFlex include understanding and aligning the system operator and network operator requirements for domestic flexibility, identifying technologies and developing the commercial frameworks and the modelling requirements.
Participants include Octopus Energy, Scottish and Southern Energy Networks and Western Power Distribution among other industry players.
Storage heater flexibility
Meanwhile Centrica and electrical goods company Glen Dimplex are putting in place plans for a major trial of the potential role of storage heaters in delivering flexibility.
The trial involving approximately 375 properties is scheduled to launch in September, with the storage heaters operating with renewable energy and storing it when the generation is abundant but pausing it when not.
The two-year trial should add about 2.5MW of capacity to the 16MW of devices, including battery storage, electric vehicles and hot water tank capacity to Centrica’s virtual power plant platform.
Storage heaters are a lower cost alternative to heat pumps and are seen as playing an important role in heating in social housing and combatting fuel poverty.