OVO and Imperial College London launch new future of energy report: A Blueprint for a Post-Carbon Society
Our entire energy system is undergoing a period of transformative change. Renewable energy and energy storage is getting cheaper, the internet is helping to connect more and more devices and we’re electrifying huge industries like road transport, domestic heating and power.
OVO has long championed the benefits of flexible storage, located near consumption and found in new technology such as electric vehicles, smart electric heating and home energy storage devices. We think they will play a huge role in transforming the energy system and will be able to provide the solution to complex problems like how we enable millions of EVs to connect to the grid and how we manage the intermittency of renewable energy. They will also help to limit the need for expensive grid upgrades and reinforcements and keep energy bills lower.
The report delves into this subject matter evaluating three energy system scenarios focusing on the effect of adding flexibility from residential demand onto the energy system.
The scenarios include:
Burning Platform: a steady state system that sees a grid carbon intensity of 200g per kWh, 3 million EVs and 4 million electrically heated homes
Stepping Stone: progress made on decarbonisation and a grid carbon density of 50g per kWh, 17 million EVs and 12 million electrically heated homes
Future Survival: one of the most ambitious low-carbon system scenarios for the UK ever conceived and a grid carbon density of 25g per kWh, 25 million EVs and 21 million electrically heated homes
All three scenarios consider increasing levels of electrification in transport and heat. The final, and most ambitious scenario "Future Survival" envisages near complete decarbonisation across the power, residential heat and road transport sectors.
In this scenario, the findings reveal that household energy flexibility could cut the cost of decarbonisation by £6.9bn per year. In particular, adding smart electric vehicle charging was shown to save £1.1bn, vehicle-to-grid charging £3.5bn, smart electric heating £3.9bn and in-home batteries £2.9bn. These huge savings come from reducing the investment requirement in network infrastructure and allowing for greater uptake of cheaper renewable energy like wind and solar.
Significantly, the modelling shows that unleashing flexible energy at a residential level will be critical to reducing the cost of decarbonisation in the UK. With new technologies like electric vehicles, smart electric heat and home energy storage, consumers can actively participate and engage in the energy transition, whilst saving themselves and others, billions of pounds.