Energy usage is set to rise as a result of the electrification of various aspects of our lives that currently use fossil fuels. Despite this, one company believes that its Whole Home Optimisation technology will be able to reduce energy usage in the future, giving the grid much needed breathing room.
Whether it’s the proliferation of electric vehicles or the roll out of electrified heating, there’s no denying that the grid could become strained in the future. Especially as the grid we’re going to be working with is one that will rely on intermittent renewables. To ensure that this future grid can cope, we’re going to have to think seriously about resilience.
Geo, also known as Green Energy Options, is working on a solution to reduce energy usage in a residential setting to ensure that the grid will have a lighter load. The UK company has begun trialling what it calls Core2Grid, which uses its Whole Home Optimisation solution and the data generated by an EDF smart meter to manage the use of rooftop solar generation and home battery storage.
The trial is being funded by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with it currently being live in 24 homes across the UK. The goal is to discover just how much the technology can cut a home’s energy usage, which in turn should reduce its burden on the grid.
How does the technology work?
Geo’s Whole Home Optimisation works by connecting to a home’s smart meter and using machine learning to assess how best to use the smart energy tariff supplied by the energy retailer, alongside the energy the home is actively generating. It will then take this data to accurately calculate the home’s energy needs, while at the same time using that knowledge to balance stored and self-generated energy to minimise waste, energy costs and household carbon emissions.
The Whole Home Optimisation technology used in the trial stores low cost/low carbon grid or rooftop-solar energy in a home battery and then predicts and manages the best use of that energy to meet the household’s daily demand. The system can rapidly and independently increase or reduce the amount of electricity drawn from the grid to mop up renewable energy when it is most abundant and to reduce stress on the grid during periods of peak demand.
Does it work?
So, can Whole Home Optimisation technology cut energy usage? Well, kind of. Obviously the amount of energy used is the same, but it’s the amount it’s drawing from the grid that is changing – and that’s where it’s actually having a huge impact.
Geo says that households involved in the trial have saved an average of 49% on their annual energy bills, while cutting their carbon footprint by 14%. The trial ran for a period of 24 months and concluded in February 2021.
“The Core4Grid trial is the clearest proof to date of the immense potential of Great Britain’s smart meter rollout to homes across the country,” said Steve Cunningham, Geo’s CEO.
“Whole Home Optimisation is driven by real-time smart meter data, allowing us to predict and balance individual household energy usage to save consumers far more than the UK Government had initially estimated for the rollout.
“This moves theory into practice and clearly shows how households can actively – and automatically – reduce their carbon footprint, reduce their bills and at the same time, play a critical part in the drive towards net zero.
“Whole Home Optimisation is also good news for energy retailers, energy generators and grid operators, helping to ensure Britain’s 26+ million homes use energy when it’s most abundant. It makes the most of domestic wind and solar generation at times when it is at its lowest wholesale price and minimises the use of dirtier, more expensive power in peak periods, creating a genuine win-win.”
Camilla McCorkell, Head of Blue Lab Proposition Innovation at EDF, added, “We’re very pleased to see such great results from the trial, showing how smart meters can enable whole house optimisation. This means customers can utilise cheaper, zero carbon off-peak energy through our GoElectric tariff, and store energy to heat and electrify their homes or electric vehicles throughout the day. This extracts significant value for both customers – as we can see from the savings – and the grid, as the data allows us to predict supply and demand, helping customers reduce their emissions in the UK’s transition towards Net Zero by 2050.”