Can you imagine using your car to power your kitchen appliances? Steve Abbott, business development manager at clean tech company Hyperdrive Innovation, envisages a greener future where consumers will harness energy from electric vehicles to power their homes…
The colder autumn weather will soon see us swapping BBQs outdoors for nights in watching boxsets, and it won’t be long before we’re all cranking up the heating. Naturally, household energy usage will begin to creep up and so will demand on the grid. But with our reliance on energy bound to increase over the next few months, how can we ensure we keep lights on, bills affordable and carbon emissions down?
With climate change continuing to be a pressing issue, the need to become more energy efficient and reduce reliance on fossil fuels has never been more important. You only have to look at the growth in electric vehicles to see a global shift towards creating a greener future. In the UK, the need to develop a smart grid for ensuring a resilient, clean and lower cost energy network is particularly prevalent. Tech companies are seeing the issues around balancing power supply and demand as an opportunity to develop smart energy solutions to build fewer new conventional power plants in the UK.
Thanks to advances in technology, energy storage at a domestic level is one concept that is fast becoming a more widespread possibility. Already we have seen the hype around Tesla’s Powerwall, the battery which allows homeowners to harness energy from renewable sources and make it available for household use. However, given its hefty price tag, alongside switchgear (electrical equipment) and installation costs, a Tesla Powerwall isn’t yet a viable solution for every homeowner.
Smaller British tech companies are working to make energy generation and storage a more affordable possibility for homeowners. In the future, consumers could generate solar and wind energy at home, store it and sell it back to the grid at times of peak demand using lithium-ion batteries. This would not only provide added flexibility for network operators but also create an additional revenue stream for homeowners, therefore reducing payback of renewables systems and providing an incentive for more homeowners to invest in distributed energy generation and storage.
Electric vehicles could take this concept even further. The batteries in EVs could be used to store energy and pump it back into the system at peak times when consumers need power most. They could be charged over night when there is excess capacity available and be ready to discharge power to the grid by the morning. This means that when everyone switches on the oven at dinner time, energy stored in the batteries could smooth out those peaks in demand and allow the network to run more efficiently.
The potential for harnessing energy from renewable sources is very significant. With access to energy storage technology, consumers can not only generate improved returns on their solar and wind installations but help to develop a cleaner, lower cost energy network. With question marks still hanging over investment in new nuclear power, and fossil-fuel fired generation out of favour, consumers adopting the latest energy storage technology could really make a difference as we look towards a greener future.
This commentary was provided exclusively for Hot Commodity by Hyperdrive Innovation.