What’s the issue?

Renewable energy has become more powerful and efficient in recent decades, which is good news. But at times when weather conditions are perfect for wind turbines and solar farms, the National Grid gets ‘congested’ with too much electricity.

During these periods when supply outstrips demand, the turbines and solar farms which are producing clean, renewable energy have to be turned off. This is a great wasted opportunity to feed clean energy into the grid. Wouldn’t it make much more sense if, at these times of maximum renewable energy production, we were able to make use of it?

What’s the solution? 

Luckily, there is a way to help the National Grid ‘balance’ itself. The solution that we’re exploring is how smart storage technologies can allow the grid to offload excess electricity – or to take more on – whenever required. By smart devices we talking about ‘intelligent’ hot water tanks and batteries which – when there is excess electricity – can use it to heat or charge, and – when the grid needs more power – can simply stop heating and charging. 

If you want to get technical about it, this is what’s called a ‘demand side response service’.

How can you help?

Well, you guessed it… we need homes to install these domestic storage devices – the intelligent batteries and hot water tanks, so that we can monitor how well they help balance the grid. The best bit is that if you want to get involved, you’ll get to use (and keep!) a free, highly efficient hot water tank. We will even contribute towards installation costs. We are currently looking for homes in Cornwall in London who have electrically heated water. To find out more visit our project website, or email askpete@peteproject.com

A bit of background on the project

The Pete Project stands for ‘Power, Energy, Technology, Efficiency’. Together with our partners, we’ll be installing 500 hot water tanks and 100 battery storage systems in homes throughout Cornwall and London. The trial is designed and overseen by the Energy & Power Group at the University of Oxford, and is run in partnership with Mixergy, Powervault and Upside Energy.