Our energy system faces big changes:
- It has become more decentralised with many small generators, rather than a few big ones.
- Growing electricity demand from appliances will be further increased by electric heating and electric vehicle charging.
- Installation of renewable energy needs to accelerate to meet carbon reduction targets. However, due to the variable nature of the weather, these sources are intermittent.
- It is getting harder to balance energy supply and demand, especially at peak times.
- To meet peak demand power generation is often ramped up by using the most carbon intensive and expensive fuels.
- If demand is not managed effectively, costly system upgrades could be required with financial consequences for consumers.
- Initiatives to balance supply and demand include smart technology, battery storage and Time Of Use tariffs that charge different rates at peak and off peak times.
- Ultimately, a big factor will be how far we, as households and organisations, change the way we use energy.
Western Power Distribution have produced a series of short videos to explain some of these issues.
Ogem have produced a short video and information on how to make our electricity system more flexible to better balance supply and demand.
If you have the time this talk on ‘People and energy – a relationship in transition’ given by Louise Kingham, Chief Executive of the Energy Institute at the University of Bath in November 2018 is a great introduction to how our energy system is changing.