A large proportion of this renewable generation comes from on-shore and off-shore wind turbines and they are currently reaching their full capacity during high winds, producing 24GW. We are already seeing instances where the current electricity system is struggling to utilise this wind power, for example, during the first UK lockdown when system balancing costs skyrocketed and wind farms were paid ~£9.3m to ‘switch off’ to manage the system imbalance.
Over the last four years, at least £100m has been paid annually to switch off wind turbines at times when the grid is at optimal capacity. Currently this is equal to 3% or ~2 TWh of all annually generated electricity from the existing wind capacity and this is only expected to increase as the installed wind capacity grows from 24GW to 54GW by 2030.
As shown in Kaluza’s V2G whitepaper last year, increasing renewable generation is only part of the solution to creating a fully decarbonised grid. We must also create a system that uses it effectively and limits waste. This is where domestic flexibility comes in – storing green energy across smart devices in people’s homes when it’s in abundance.
Over the past two years, Kaluza’s AI has been shifting energy demand across domestic EVs, storage heaters, heat pumps and batteries to times when abundant renewable energy is available and cheap, whilst also keeping homes warm and EVs ready for their next journey. Our work in this space has shown how domestic flexibility can help effectively introduce more renewable energy onto the grid, help reduce grid stress at peak times while keeping end customers happy.
Optimising domestic heaters
Kaluza has been optimising fleets of smart storage heaters in homes across the UK for the last two years. Last winter, we saw that each storage heater offered our platform the flexibility to manage 5kWh of ‘storage heater charging’ per day, enabling us to capture the cheapest times in every Economy 7 tariff window.
In fact, a subset of Kaluza’s optimised smart heaters have been operating in Orkney – one of the windiest locations in the UK – and capturing excess wind from the local wind turbines. Over the last five months alone, Kaluza-optimised storage heaters have responded to 467 wind turbine curtailment events, resulting in heaters reducing the ‘wasted’ wind energy by 10% with some heaters capturing 5-18 kWh of electricity directly from these turbines every month.
Smart charging electric vehicles
Kaluza’s work in EV flexibility includes the world’s largest domestic V2G project, one of the key DNO-led EV smart charging projects and the smart charging of a further 10,000 EVs throughout the UK. Our data indicates that each smart charger could optimise 7kWh of EV charging per day to capture the most from times when intermittent renewable energy is available. Similarly, on an average day, each V2G device could give us the opportunity to capture 11.4 kWh of renewable energy while also enabling 6.7 kWh of this electricity to be returned back to the grid at times when additional capacity is needed to meet high demand. V2G further enhances the opportunities for EVs to play a major role in facilitating grid with high renewable generation in the mix.