The UK government has announced its plan to integrate IoT devices with the national grid to improve sustainability and reduce consumer energy costs.
By working alongside manufacturers, the UK government is aiming to create standards for a smarter and more flexible energy system. This could mean some devices are switched on when costs are at their lowest, and others switched off when the grid is under stress.
Examples include a smart washing machine which switches on when electricity is particularly cheap, or a fridge which switches off for short periods when demand is at its highest.
“Upgrading our energy system to make sure it is fit for the future is a key part of our Industrial Strategy to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system,” explains Greg Clark, Business and Energy Secretary. “A smarter energy system will create new businesses and high-skilled jobs while making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with demand.”
Known as ‘demand-led response’ the plans will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of energy supply. Over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is now generated through renewables such as solar and wind, both of which provide inconsistent supplies. Certain unessential devices could be temporarily switched off if renewable energy stores are running low until more is generated.
“Upgrading our energy systems is vital if we are to have a clean, affordable and secure supply for the long-term and meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions,” says Lord Adonis, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission. “This plan is a clear step forward, and was one of the 12 key infrastructure decisions we said needed to be made as a matter of urgency.”
The plan requires committed leadership from the government and cooperation from smart home device manufacturers to help draft industry standards and ensure systems and data are safe in order to be a success. It’s clear this report is just the beginning of a long process but, with dwindling fossil fuel reserves, the need for a smarter and more flexible energy system is becoming ever more pressing.
Energy companies must be scrutinised throughout the process to ensure savings are passed on to consumers.
“We want to open the door to new technologies and services so that they can help to reduce bills for consumers in the long term,” adds Andrew Wright, Senior Partner, Energy Systems, Ofgem. “It is vital that we get the changes in place as there is potential for a smarter system to save consumers billions between now and 2050.”
One British company, Moixa, provides residential battery systems to households for charging with solar rooftop panels, and energy suppliers can reward consumers who use the grid to top up their batteries during low periods of demand when prices are lower.
“The regulatory improvements proposed and Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will help storage providers like Moixa participate better in energy markets, and enable our Utility partners to deliver smart tariffs to customers,” says Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa Energy Holdings. “The actions will make the UK a global leader for new smart technologies and accelerate the transition to a cost-effective, resilient, and low carbon energy system.”
Are you impressed with the plan to integrate IoT devices with the grid? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.