Ecotricity 'black box' aims to bring green energy storage to the home

Ecotricity 'black box' aims to bring green energy storage to the home

Independent green energy supplier Ecotricity is hoping to roll out a networked energy storage device that it reckons could reduce the UK's energy demand by up to 15 per cent if every home in the country had one.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, Ecotricity founder and chief executive Dale Vince said the company has been developing a demand side management device that would allow consumers to store energy at times of low demand and then release it during peak times to help balance the grid.

Ecotricity is expecting to produce the first demonstration model in June and launch a 100-home trial by the end of this year.

Vince said the device would be linked up to Ecotricity's Slough HQ, from where demand would be managed. "We've done some extensive modelling of the grid in the UK and we think that if every home had one it could reduce power demand in the UK by 15 per cent, which is the equivalent of the UK's nuclear power fleet," he said.

He predicted the device would particularly suit homes and small businesses with microgeneration technologies such as solar panels or small wind turbines, helping them to become energy independent.

"It's about taking houses off the grid at peak times and putting them back on when peak is over," he said.

"It's about doing it in a way that the user doesn't have to get involved in. It's not about offering tariffs that reflect the time of day and encouraging people to turn washing machines off. It's not about having appliance level equipment. It just takes the whole house on and off the grid."

Ecotricity is one of a number of high profile companies to target the nascent domestic energy storage market. US electric car firm Tesla, which is currently locked in a legal battle with Ecotricity, is similarly working on plans for a domestic battery designed to help homes reduce their reliance on the grid. Meanwhile, a host of utilities around the world are working on smart grid systems that can incorporate energy storage capabilities to help manage renewable energy systems and balance supply and demand on the grid.

Source: Business Green

Smart Grid Bulletin March 2019

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