Energy Systems Catapult | Sustainable Energy Sector in the UK – Lewis Davey

ES Living Lab 3

Energy Systems Catapult | Sustainable Energy Sector in the UK – Lewis Davey

Energy Systems Catapult: Towards a Sustainable UK Energy Sector

Specialist climate change recruitment consultancy, Lewis Davey, is delighted to welcome Energy Systems Catapult to our guest blog with a detailed look at a Sustainable UK Energy Sector.

Moving towards sustainability and clean growth in the UK energy sector requires the participation of multiple stakeholders, the introduction of various technologies and a whole system approach to bring everything together.

Energy Systems Catapult are helping the UK to meet its net zero ambitions by working with innovators, local councils, academia and policy makers to develop smart energy solutions.

From smart energy innovation to local area energy planning, this article explores some of the projects and initiatives being undertaken by the centre to achieve clean growth.

Smart Energy Innovation

In order for the UK to achieve its net zero ambitions, a transition toward a smarter energy system which integrates renewable energy sources and technologies is essential.

Many innovative small and medium sized businesses are coming up with smart solutions to the energy challenge to help consumers transition towards low or zero carbon alternatives.

For example, the move towards connected homes which feature wireless technologies to help consumers manage their energy consumption habits include:

  • Digital, connected temperature control
  • Smart thermostats to lower energy bills
  • Smart meters
  • Smart sensors
  • Voice control
  • Buying heat as a service technology

The Living Lab is a real-world test environment made up of 100 UK homes in which innovators can test their smart energy products and services with real customers, helping them overcome challenges and understand their audiences.

The widespread adoption of smart energy also relies on local councils and government bodies to implement. Energy Systems Catapult has been working with UK councils to develop Smart Energy Plans to identify projects and activities to decarbonise local energy.

Virtual Power Plants

With rising energy demands, we need to find novel ways to improve our electricity networks to cope with future needs.

By responding to grid conditions and managing demand at peak times, virtual power plant technology can help consumers minimise their consumption of energy in the home.

For example, Virtual Power Plant (VPP) business Evergreen Smart Power enables consumers to benefit from energy generation, storage and consumption by controlling domestic energy loads to lower bills and take the pressure off our electricity networks. They are also integrated with smart electric vehicle charging points to reduce strain on the network during peak hours.

Local Energy Markets

Local Energy Markets (LEMs) are increasingly being proposed as a solution to the complexity of the current energy system in the UK. An LEM refers to efforts to ‘establish a marketplace to coordinate the generation, supply, storage, transport and consumption of energy from decentralised energy resources’. For example, using renewable energy generators and storage. All within a defined geographical area.

Initial proposals for LEMs have been varied and are still in the early stages of development. In order to be successful, designs need to take into consideration future changes to the electricity system policy and regulation.

According to a recent policy review on local energy markets by Energy Systems Catapult, the development of LEMs needs to consider these main points;

  • Consumer protection
  • Cyber security and data protection
  • The impact of future renewable energy incentives
  • The impact of smart metres
  • The impact of future network charges and access
  • Managing multiple potential purchasers of energy
  • How to interact with system-wide processes

But what do consumers think of local energy initiatives?

According to Energy Systems Catapult’s Home Truths Survey, most consumers welcomed the prospect of being involved in a smart local energy system. Despite a significant lack of awareness, 58% of people asked felt positively about smart local energy systems.

Energy Systems Catapult has developed expertise in Local Area Energy Planning to support local authorities, network operators, businesses and communities move towards a low-carbon energy system in their area. The whole system approach considers everything from heat to transport.

About Energy Systems Catapult

Energy Systems Catapult was set up to ‘unleash innovation and open new markets to capture the clean growth opportunity’. In order to reach the UK’s net zero targets, this not-for-profit centre helps to accelerate change in the energy system by supporting business innovators and energy consumers.

By helping businesses develop, test and scale their energy innovations and by collaborating with industry, academia and government, Energy Systems Catapult are helping the UK to reach the clean growth ambitions set out in the Industrial Strategy.

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