New plans have been unveiled by the UK Government and Ofgem this week to roll out innovative new smart tech that will handle our growing energy demands and improve the efficiency of the current system.
The ‘Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan and Energy Digitalisation Strategy’ promises a more adaptable energy sector, which will be able to cope with the nation’s power requirements as fossil fuels get phased out. What’s more, it will open the door to the increased generation of renewables from UK sources, a more consistent supply of green energy and easier means of storing and exporting our power.
With proposed network efficiency savings of up to ‘£10 billion a year by 2050’, alongside opportunities for consumers to ‘trade back excess energy’ through the new systems, the Government and Ofgem have suggested we will benefit from reduced energy bills and a cleaner, greener grid.
Ready to ‘meet the challenges of decarbonisation’
With the plan, the Government and Ofgem will drive forward with boosting existing energy smart technologies and will also look to create newer tech to improve the UK’s ability to store renewables on a larger scale.
Some examples of the tech currently being developed around the country includes:
- Heat network projects in Gateshead and Milton Keynes that are supplying residents with affordable, low-carbon heat and electricity.
- A trial in the south-east of England with electric vehicle owners combining the use of smart meters, a vehicle charger and electricity from renewable sources to save money on their bills and provide electricity to the grid.
- New battery technologies that are helping the transition from fossil fuels to green sources by delivering low-cost, low-carbon energy on demand in a reliable, safe and economic way.
- A community system where domestic solar energy is being combined with battery technology and data to forecast energy generation and demand in the wider electricity system. This allows customers to trade excess energy to the grid – so far giving average savings of 70% on bills.
On top of this, the plan will also consider how the UK’s current electricity interconnectors with other nations can be streamlined to ‘balance’ the system if needed. It’s believed that all of these aspects will be what’s needed to meet the challenges of decarbonisation and make the process more affordable in the long run.
Speaking about the situation, Jonathan Brearley, chief executive of Ofgem, said:
“This plan is essential to hitting the UK’s net zero climate goal while keeping energy bills affordable for everyone. It requires a revolution in how and when we use electricity and will allow millions of electric cars, smart appliances and other new green technologies to digitally connect to the energy system.
“As energy regulator, Ofgem will work with government and industry, to help consumers make the changes needed and ensure the transition to net zero is affordable, fair and inclusive for all.”
Over 20,000 new jobs and a lucrative export market
The benefits will also extend into the employment market, with promises of ‘up to 10,000 jobs for system installers, electricians, data scientists and engineers’ with a further 14,000 jobs ‘created by the export potential of these new technologies’. The export markets themselves are also expected to be strong and could ‘be worth as much as £2.7 billion a year to the UK economy by the middle of the century’.
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, offered her thoughts on the plans:
“We need to ensure our energy system can cope with the demands of the future. Smart technologies will help us to tackle climate change while making sure that the lights stay on and bills stay low.
“The possibilities opened by a smart and flexible system are clear to see. They will not only allow households to take control of their energy use and save money but will ensure power is available when and where it’s needed while creating jobs and investment opportunities long into the future.”
How to make savings on your energy bills now
With the promise of all the above benefits, but in particular the savings on our future energy bills and the potential for a bigger choice of green energy tariffs – the plans certainly do seem like a positive step forward for us.
However, you don’t necessarily have to wait to benefit from more affordable energy because you can run an online energy comparison today to find a cheaper and greener deal.
This can be done quickly with only a few basic details about your home and your energy use. Then, you’ll be shown all the best energy deals near you that come with renewables and a breakdown of how much you can save with each.
Better still, green tariffs are becoming more widely available and some of the best energy suppliers on the market right now include the likes of Bulb and Octopus – who are championed for their options on green tariffs and their excellent customer service.