SPEN and Octopus trial results in 20MWh demand shift

SP Energy Networks (SPEN) has successfully led a trial with Octopus Energy which saw more than 20MWh of demand shift across the local network.

The Flexibility Demand Shift Trial, which took place in Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire, saw SPEN notify Octopus when periods of high renewable generation were forecast.

Octopus would then notify the 2,500 customers involved in the trial the day before those specific requirements were needed on the network. This allowed consumers to shift their electricity use.

SPEN said that by managing generation at a local level in this way, the trial saw 20.2 MWh total demand shift – with an average of 1.68MW per demand shift event.

The demand shift during the trial windows, it said, equates to roughly the output from an average commercial onshore wind farm.

SPEN reported a good response rate from participants, with 98% finding the experience “beneficial and easy to do”.

Almost half (46%) said they would consider managing their energy use five days per week, while 22% of participants said they would do it three days per week.

Every customer said they would be prepared to take action to control their energy at least once per week.

Scott Mathieson, network planning and regulation director at SP Energy Networks, said flexibility removes the need in some areas for “costly and often-time consuming traditional network reinforcement…”.

He added: “This is the first time that flexibility demand shift has been trialled at this scale anywhere in the UK and it’s great to see it’s been such a success.

“The benefit of managing flexibility in this way is that it allows maximum renewable energy generation to be absorbed locally and the network to be effectively managed at a local level, helping tailor the service to areas and driving communities forward towards net zero emissions targets through increased renewable generation.”

Meanwhile Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, chief marketing and product officer at Octopus Energy Group, said: “We have this amazing power grid which spans across the entire country, connecting every household and every generator in the UK.

“By tweaking how we consume power, we can make the most of every green electron generated in the UK and bring down costs for all.

“This trial was just the first step proving that people are happy to make small adjustments to help the grid and save cash. With a much larger campaign we would be able to really move the needle towards the flexible energy system we need for a greener future.”