UK Power Networks and Octopus Energy in programme to ‘turn up’ demand

UK Power Networks and Octopus Energy in programme to ‘turn up’ demand
Image courtesy 123rf

In a bid to ease pressure on the British electricity system, clean tech major Octopus Energy has partnered with UK Power Networks on a programme that will allow consumers access to free renewable energy when there is excess available on the grid.

The partnership will see the fast-growing Octopus Energy team up with the UK’s largest electricity distribution network operator to help the grid exploit excess renewable power.

Participating customers will get free electricity when there is excess available on the local grid from abundant renewables. Based on UK Power Networks’ forecasts, Octopus will send customers a notification of the times they can ‘Power-ups’ their homes for free a day in advance.

Free whizz: Octopus launches Power-ups. Image credit: Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy, in a release announcing the partnership, comments on how recent years have seen the transmission grid face challenges of imbalance when energy supply exceeds demand.

The partnership with Octopus Energy comes as grid operators like UK Power Networks are looking into alternative means of balancing the grid, to avoid turning off these renewable generators during times of surplus.

This marks the latest in a series of partnerships between the two. In 2019 the pair launched Powerloop, a vehicle-to-grid trial where participating customers were paid each time they discharged energy from their electric car back to the grid.

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Alex Schoch, head of flexibility at Octopus Energy Group, commented: “Thanks to Octopus’ proprietary technology rewarding ‘demand turn up’, we no longer need to switch off bountiful solar and wind power when consumers can use it up for free instead.

“It’s good for the grid and good for the planet – a win for everybody. ‘Power-ups’ is yet another arrow in the quiver of ‘demand flexibility’ and it’s great to work with an innovator like UK Power Networks.”

Sotiris Georgiopoulos, UK Power Networks’ director, added: “In response to growing volumes of renewable power, UK Power Networks is the first distribution system operator to call for ‘demand turn up’.

“Tapping into customer flexibility means we can connect more renewable energy, keeping costs down for our customers.”

UK Power Networks owns and maintains electricity cables and lines across London, the South East and East of England.

Power Ups sign up opens on 9th August 2023 and dates/times of ‘Power-ups’ will vary.