In the next few years, there will be an increasing potential for flexibility at consumers due to the introduction of heat pumps (hybrid or all-electric), electric cars, solar panels with peak shaving, and possibly batteries and heat storage.
These are new systems, installed at consumers, geared to thermal or transport needs and thus having a relatively high additional electrical power (the current an average peak load of 1kW per household will go up to 4 to 6kW per household). These systems can place an extra burden on the grid, but they can also be of assistance to the grid. Assistance will be made possible if the devices can also serve as a source of flexibility by responding to signals to adjust supply or demand.
Three markets can be distinguished in the demand for flexibility, all of which will be growing in the next few years as indicated in the figure below. The potential flexibility offered by heat pumps and electric transport is shown in the adjacent table.
A major share of the need for flexibility can be fulfilled from consumer flexibility. But in order to achieve this, this flexibility will have to be mobilised, prepared, and made accessible. This is why FAN is striving for an open standard for the flexibility interface of these devices. And this will not only serve to make sure that system needs can be fulfilled:
- It will enable customers to switch their devices on/off depending on the current cost of using them. Adjusting consumer demand to the wind and solar energy supply will benefit consumers’ budgets and will be important for the system. The alternative would be additional backup capacity, the cost of which would eventually also be paid by consumers.
- Customers will be in control of their own flexibility because the open standard will create portability: switching flexibility service providers will be as easy as switching mobile phone providers whilst keeping the same phone number. Customers can choose and are protected against vendor lock-ins.
- Consumers can use market propositions that respond to varying electricity prices and demand for flexibility from grid operators and market participants. Consumer investments in new equipment will thus be given added value, both financially and emotionally, since consumers will be the enablers of the energy transition.