BWCE and Stemy Energy invite you to help shape the future

We are recruiting participants in the BWCE area of benefit to test smart technology designed by Stemy Energy which helps shift electricity demand away from peak times, in order to reduce carbon emissions, electricity bills and the need for expensive and resource intensive grid upgrades. In addition, being able to better manage demand will enable us to install more renewable energy.

Involvement in this project will help us develop a community-led approach we hope will become central to the energy transition over the next 3-5 years.

We are currently working with a number of householders to trial the technology with hot water heating. We are now looking for more participants as we broaden the scope of the project to include space heating and electric vehicle charging.

Flex Community is supported by Power to Change through its Next Generation programme.

What is the Challenge?

To respond to the climate crisis we need to both increase the generation of renewable energy and electrify home heating and transport to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels such as gas and oil. This is known as the ‘energy transition’.

However, the decentralised and intermittent (weather dependent) nature of renewables plus the expected increased demand of new electric appliances is leading to increased pressure on our electricity grid and making it harder to balance demand and supply, especially at peak times when electricity supply is more carbon intensive.

If we do not find effective ways of more closely matching the supply of renewable electricity with demand from consumers we face both a continued reliance on fossil fuel energy generation plus the prospect of electricity grid upgrades with major implications in terms of cost, resource use and environmental impact.

What is the Flex Community Response?

BWCE is trialling a community approach to balancing supply and demand by utilising and refining smart technology designed by Stemy Energy in order to:

  • Help householders install electric hot water heating, space heating and electric vehicle charging that can communicate to the electricity grid via smart technology.
  • Combine householders together (the ‘Flex Community’) to enable a collective response when the electricity grid requires demand to be turned up or down at specific times (‘flexibility requests’)
  • Ensure that householders retain control at all times so as not to compromise their comfort levels.
  • Explore the potential for income generation from providing flexibility services.

We are working with Stemy Energy to adapt the technology to the UK context and to integrate it into a community owned model that empowers local people to take an active role in the energy transition.

What could be the benefits of this approach?

  • Increased energy efficiency and reduced costs for householders, plus the potential to generate income from providing flexibility.
  • A decrease in the proportion of home energy that is reliant on fossil fuels.
  • An electricity grid that can better balance demand and supply, especially during peak times when carbon intensity is high.
  • A reduction in the need for resource intensive investment in the electricity grid.
  • An increase in the ability of the grid to incorporate new renewable energy generation, including community owned generating projects directly serving local people.
  • More opportunities for local communities to take ownership and control over the energy transition.

How can I get involved?

If you live in the BWCE area of benefit and interested in the following we’d like to hear from you:

  • Installing (or have already installed) a heat pump, electrical vehicle charging point or immersion heater.
  • Exploring how you can be flexible around energy consumption to support the better balancing of supply and demand on the electricity grid
  • Trialing the automation of home energy demand by smart technology to simulate flexibility requests from the electricity grid
  • Providing feedback on your experiences to enhance and build the Flex Community.

Please complete our Flex Community expression of interest to find out more.