Creating flexibility in electricity generation and consumption to create a resilient grid capable of meeting peak demand.
Meeting peak demand in a cost-effective way is one of the core challenges of the UK’s electricity infrastructure. Whilst renewable technologies are making an important contribution, some are weather dependent, and it is important that during the times of highest demand and lowest supply we can apply flexibility to make sure the UK’s energy needs are still met.
Utilising energy storage, such as batteries, gives us the flexibility to use the energy we generate at the times when we need it most. To increase flexibility we can store the electricity at times when demand is low and supply is high and then use it when demand increases.
The ability to meet peak demand is essential, but peak demand only represents a small fraction of each day’s energy usage and end users can have an important part to play in energy flexibility through demand-side response. Through grid services we can reduce the amount of non-green generation necessary to meet peak demand.
Generation plants contribute to the grid during times of peak demand. These peaking plants generate flexible electricity and provide resilience and capacity to the local electricity grid. Plants become operational when renewable energy sources, such as solar, are not producing enough electricity and at peak demand periods.
Changes to generation and consumer technology, combined with a need for a balanced grid is seeing innovative new ways of ensuring supply matches demand, whilst keeping energy costs low for customers.
Here's just a few of the innovations which our electricity infrastructure will have to cater for over the coming years.