Store to Save with the ‘Internet of Energy’

Dr. Alex Mardapittas, Managing Director of Powerstar and inventor of the Virtue energy storage system, discusses how using storage technology can help realise significant savings on energy bills.

The UK is currently in the midst of an energy crisis, with peak demand on the National Grid expected to increase six-fold by 2050 and at present, there is simply not enough energy resources to manage the forecasted growth.

To manage growing demand, the National Grid is increasing charges for electricity distribution, mainly through DUoS and Triad charges, which on average represent 24% of a facility’s electricity bills. However, new connected technology, such as energy storage, is assisting by forming an ‘Internet of Energy’ that will control supply and demand on the grid, leading to significantly reduced, or eliminated, tariffs for consumers.

Energy storage technology works by capturing the electricity produced by both renewable and non-renewable resources and storing it for discharge, when required. The solution allows users to come off the National Grid and switch to stored electricity, when required, giving greater flexibility and control of electrical usage. The benefits provided by energy storage solutions, such as Virtue, can allow businesses to negate costly DUoS and Triad charges whilst ensuring a cost effective and reliable supply of electricity.

Distribution Use of Systems (DUoS)

In order to order to operate, maintain and develop the country’s energy distribution network, the UK’s Distribution Network Operators (DNO) charge a DUoS tariff, which is broken down into four subheadings; fixed, capacity, reactive power and unit.  

The unit charge is the most widely recognised tariff and is placed on how many kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a business has consumed during a specific period, usually one of high demand of the grid. The cost of unit charges varies regionally, however, in most circumstances, the tariffs account for around 15-19% of a non-domestic electricity bill. Even with DUoS charges forming a significant part of a company’s electricity bill, it is not possible to ‘shop around’ for the cheapest tariffs, as the DNO’s control energy supply.

DUoS tariffs are also on the rise year by year, and it is predicted that by 2020 the price of electricity will increase to such an extent that network charges will represent 40% of an electricity bill.

In order to avoid DUoS charges some businesses will significantly reduce electricity consumption or even operate a full shutdown procedure at peak times, usually Monday – Friday between 16:00 – 19:00 hours, which may not possible if an organisation consumes a high level of energy throughout the day.

However, as DUoS tariffs are published in advance by the DNO’s, the charge can be avoided with correct load management systems, such as Virtue energy storage technology. The solution uses its batteries to store the cheaper electricity at night, or during off peak periods, usually from 00:00 – 07:30, 21:00 – 24:00 and across the weekend. The battery will then be able to discharge the energy at a DUoS period, allowing companies to save up to 10% on electricity cost.

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Triads

Triads are three half-hour periods, determined by the grid service provider, with the highest demand during the winter months. The charges are similar to DUoS in that the tariff is affected by the geographical location of businesses and can also be avoided by taking advantage of energy storage technology.

Most electricity suppliers will try and warn customers when they believe a Triad period might be coming, which are intended to give users the opportunity to reduce the amount of electricity used, however they can be difficult to predict. As the outlay is so significant during a Triad period, most large consumers of electricity may choose to run a full shut down procedure.

To ensure optimum output throughout a Triad period, it is vital that facilities examine ways to negate a full shut down. The only way to avoid Triad charges completely, whilst operating all electrical systems as normal, is for businesses to come off the National Grid and use electricity through energy storage technology.

A connected future

Even though energy storage technology is in its infancy, by avoiding DUoS and Triad charges, the solutions are allowing businesses to make significant savings on electricity bills. Furthermore, with the UK Government recently announcing the need for a smart energy revolution, it is vital that enabling technologies such as Powerstar Virtue, are implemented to replace the traditional model of generating energy with large thermal power stations, in order to create an ‘Internet of Energy’.

By allowing ultimate flexibility to business users and electricity grid operators, Virtue enables the evolution from the traditional model of electricity provision to a future smart system of integrated supply and consumption, resulting in lower energy costs, greater security of supply and the transition to a low carbon economy.

For more information on Virtue, please visit http://powerstar.com/virtue/

 

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