Staying switched on

Modernising the UK’s electricity grid is crucial if the country is to meet its global carbon commitment. Leigh Draper, Communications and Special Projects Manager at energy innovator UK Power Reserve, explains why we’ve got to be smart about it.

A smarter grid is vital to put the UK on track to meet the European objective of becoming a low-carbon economy by 2050. The challenges posed by load growth and an aging grid are immense, but through the use of intelligent networks, we have the power to transform energy supply throughout the country.

Historically, the UK energy market has been dominated by the large utility model, but across the country a Smart Grid revolution is currently taking place. Distributed generation – using small-scale power generation technologies located close to the source – will play a significant part in transforming the energy market. The UK has the ability to develop and deliver vast quantities of distributed generation, which can complement the generation mix and serve to reduce overall costs to consumers.

A better deal for the public

Our company, UK Power Reserve (UKPR), works with National Grid to increase generation or decrease demand. Since being founded in 2010, UKPR has been leading the way in digital innovation for smart, flexible power generation, enhancing our ability to help maintain security of supply for National Grid.

UKPR has built up widely distributed networks of small-scale power generation assets and works with thousands of companies throughout the country to contribute to grid balancing too, either through Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) or demand management.

Following a period of rapid growth, UKPR facilitated a 30% improvement in power station response time. As a result, the cost to National Grid to maintain security of supply for the UK has been reduced, translating into a better deal for UK consumers.

Across the country a Smart Grid revolution is currently taking place.

App provides new opportunities

UKPR intends to continue promoting Demand Side Response (DSR), driving innovation in smart energy and keeping end-users informed. This approach has led to the development of the UKPR iGridUK Smart Grid App. The app, which was developed in-house, allows users to access multiple sources of electricity market information relating to security of supply. The information is relayed through the app on a live or near-live basis, enabling users to keep informed of the most up-to-date information available.

The app has given us new opportunities to share our knowledge with customers, partners and the public in real time. By unifying such crucial information into one app, energy market participants can keep their finger on the pulse while on the move. This creates a smarter industry and is another step towards helping the UK achieve its low-carbon objectives.