Smart load management for smarter homes

Smart load management for smarter homes

The dash from gas and the journey to net zero means the future for smarter homes will be electric.

For those of us involved in local power network ownership and operation, we’re already a long way along the road on planning for the new era of electrification.

Smoothing the bumpy road to Net Zero

The vision for Future Homes Building Standard is to deliver new homes that are zero-carbon ready from 2025, and from now till then, reduce CO2 emissions by around 30% over current standards. Gas boilers will be replaced by heat pumps and there will be accelerating demand for EV charging.

In an ideal world, this transition would be seamless, but there’s already evidence in certain parts of the country of capacity issues in meeting anticipated future demand for power. For example, in West London a lack of capacity threatens to impact new homes construction over the next five years.  

We know that as a nation, we need to build many more new homes every year, so how can we solve the conundrum of greater electricity demand when capacity is finite and, in certain locations, constrained?

Smart technology as a solution

As a network owner, we’re currently involved in innovative projects that could provide templates for the future. In Scotland, our investment in smart cabinet technology enables us to deliver the granular network performance data needed to run a dynamic load management system. Here, gateways installed in each home manage energy flows and ensure that technologies like PV panels, air source heat pumps and EV charging points work in harmony, while at the same time optimising the availability of green power.

This type of smart technology will become ever more important as advances in areas such as battery storage, vehicle-to-grid exports and vehicle-to-load (to connected appliances) mature.

Managing this complexity can be achieved in a smart way, for example by applying artificial intelligence (AI). We’ve already proven our ability to manage loads in a constrained environment using AI, avoiding the need for costly grid reinforcement. Applying a network-to-device AI interface means we can automatically dial down consumption at peak times, without any negative impact on appliances, to relieve network stress and safeguard power to homes.

The upshot is that through data-led innovations, we’re better able to influence the design of more efficient networks and manage capacity in smarter ways.

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