Delivering the UK's first paid DSO flexibility service using domestic devices

Posted: 16 Jul 2020

Overview

OBJECTIVE

Support Western Power Distribution’s local grid with system flexibility using Kaluza-connected home devices

SERVICE LAUNCH

16 December 2019

LOCATION

Lincolnshire, UK

CONTRACTED LOAD

50kW

CONNECTED DEVICES

40 sonnenBatterie systems with rooftop solar

Project Partners

Industry Challenge

The energy system must undergo profound change to meet new levels of demand produced by the mass electrification of heat and transport. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) play a crucial role in the transition to a decarbonised smart grid and look to new innovations that can enable more efficient management of the power grid as demand ramps up.

Kaluza's Flexibility Platform

Kaluza is OVO Group’s technology platform ecosystem and its flexibility platform is enabling the grid to harness the potential of millions of smart home devices, to reduce congestion and save money on network reinforcement.

Freeing up electricity stored in domestic devices – including home energy storage systems, heaters and electric vehicles – Kaluza enables the grid to respond to increases in demand in real time, creating a smarter, more flexible system. Using AI and machine learning, Kaluza intelligently controls devices to import energy during periods of low demand, so the electricity they use is less carbon intensive.

An OVO Energy customer with their new sonnenBatterie.

An OVO Energy customer with their new sonnenBatterie.

WPD & Flexibility

Western Power Distribution is the second largest local grid operator in the UK, carrying electricity from generators to individual towns and villages throughout the Midlands, South West and Wales. Its network consists of 220,000 km of overhead lines and underground cables, and it is seeking new methods to accommodate increasing electrical demand without expanding its costly physical infrastructure.

To date WPD has identified that nearly one third of their network coverage could benefit from additional flexible capacity, to help mitigate emerging demand constraints. WPD procures and operates flexible capacity through its Flexible Power interface.

“There is acute pressure on grid operators to find innovative ways to accommodate the UK’s growing electricity demand, without having to build larger networks. Technologies like Kaluza’s, that are able to securely connect and scale to many different IoT devices, create an exciting opportunity for the UK’s future energy system.” - Ben Godfrey, Network Strategy Manager, WPD

Kaluza Optimisation

Kaluza identified an opportunity for WPD to reduce local congestion in Lincolnshire through the optimisation of sonnenBatteries that store renewable energy from domestic solar panels. Working with energy supplier partners OVO Energy, 40 Kaluza-connected sonnenBatteries were installed for free into WPD customer homes, who already had existing solar PV. 

Working closely with WPD’s Flexible Power team, Kaluza integrated with Flexible Power’s technology giving it access to their real-time telemetry. Kaluza is now aggregating these batteries to deliver local flexibility services to WPD by discharging unused energy to WPD’s network during times of high demand. In addition to batteries being charged up by solar panels, Kaluza is also optimising excess charging of the battery at times when grid electricity is cheapest and greenest. This local and flexible capacity is then intelligently used for offsetting customer peak demand and exporting electricity to the grid when called upon by WPD in a predetermined availability window.

The service is the first in the UK to trade domestic flexibility in a live DSO market and signals important progress in the journey to a decarbonised smart grid.

Looking Ahead

Scaling flexibility requires extensive changes to the current energy system. More trading markets like Flexible Power that enable the real-time exchange of flexible capacity will need to form, as well as improved access to live data i.e. around supply and demand levels and energy pricing.

As well as increasing the volume of flexibility, there is a valuable opportunity to create a multi-layered service that optimises energy use in different ways according to the changing needs of the grid.

 

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