Never heard of Flexiwatts?
No, neither had I until very recently, but I think they’re pretty exciting, and will be the key to the future of our energy supply. So what are they?
Flexiwatts are ‘electric loads that can be shifted in time’ – basically, it’s a term for demand side energy management, or demand flexibility.
Demand flexibility uses communication and control technology to shift electricity across hours of the day. In practice this involves using Wi-fi enabled products, specially installed thermostats, or smart controls such as those offered by Tempus Energy, which can be set so that customers reduce consumption when demand is high.
The beauty of Flexiwatts is that for you there is little impact. As a customer there will be a financial benefit, but you would see little impact on the daily running of the home. The thermostat may be a little lower at certain times of day, or the hot water immersion might go on or off in response to peak demand, but this will have little noticeable impact. By managing your usage ‘smartly’ to avoid peak demand energy tariffs, you benefit from lower energy bills.
Why would energy suppliers want to charge me less, there must be a catch?
‘The UK energy sector is now facing a number of challenges in providing safe, reliable and secure energy which will also be sustainable in a decarbonised future… £200 billion of investment will be required in the next ten years within the energy industry in order to secure sustainable energy supplies and keep costs as low as possible for consumers.’ Source – National Grid.
If everyone continues using energy regardless of demand and supply needs, energy providers will need to continue building new power plants to satisfy the demands. The energy will need to be transported to the consumer, which will need investment in infrastructure, and it doesn’t come cheap. The suppliers also have to charge a premium for generating extra energy to meet any unpredictable or peak demands. All resulting in higher energy bills.
A far more efficient alternative is to offer flexible energy tariffs, set to reflect the wholesale energy prices in real-time. It is beneficial for the energy supplier if consumers switch to using energy in the low demand times of day, when the energy is cheaper to buy.
There really is no catch, other than maybe sometimes having to run your tumble drier at a slightly different time of day. The benefits are lower bills and a more flexible adaptable energy market that will keep bills lower into the future.
Flexiwatts and variable tariffs are still a pretty new approach to the energy market, but if you are lucky enough to live in Cornwall, Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network, are looking for people in the Wadebridge area to join their exciting Sunshine Tariff project, being run in partnership with Tempus Energy.
We work closely with Wattstor, developing demand side energy management options, why not call or email for a friendly chat? 01726 390390
image from sessile