Recent energy milestones show us the ‘new normal’

Over recent months, we’ve seen strong evidence of fundamental changes in the UK energy system.

Following his keynote speech at an event for the Living Grid project last week, CEO Robert Groves explains what we can learn from these milestones.

The need to innovate our outdated and unsustainable way of generating and supplying electricity is seeing the UK experience a period of major transition, moving us quickly towards a more decentralised, decarbonised and digitised energy system.

In recent months, there have been some exciting examples of the change that is taking place right in front of us:

• Over 50% of demand met by renewable generation in one day (7th June)
• Negative power prices for 5 consecutive hours (7th June)
• Solar meeting a quarter of demand in a single day (26th May)
• First day without coal since the industrial revolution (21st April)

We are also seeing more generators investing in decentralised renewable energy projects across the country (currently 6,400 in operation across Great Britain) and we expect to see 578MW of battery storage capacity by 2020, according to our latest Energy Entrepreneurs Report.

At the same time, we are also on the cusp of harnessing big data with innovative technology that is already being used in other industries.

This will give us the ability to engage more with consumers and enables them to participate in the system in completely new and commercially beneficial ways, such as Demand Side Response (DSR).

In order to capitalise on all these positive developments and make sure this transition is a smart one, the time has come to think creatively about what we want this ‘new normal’ to be and how we can all contribute to achieving it.

This is why we are excited to work with Forum for the Future on the Living Grid initiative, which brings together different stakeholders in the energy system and takes inspiration from living systems to rethink our approach to energy.

One of the Living Grid findings we see as most critical is the requirement for a shift from passive to active energy system users.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, energy generators and consumers are no longer viewing their energy as a utility, but rather a responsibility and an asset.

For consumers, that means DSR must become a priority. For generators, it means a focus on active price management and new revenue streams.

For a next generation energy company like SmartestEnergy, it means offering new technology-led services to embrace our customers’ flexibility to help them win in this new energy landscape, our ‘new normal’.

Look out for the upcoming Living Grid video which will be released in July and get in touch if you are interested in joining the collaboration.