Demand Side Response: Putting consumers in the driving seat

For the UK’s to achieve the ambitious target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, our energy system must become cleaner, smarter and more flexible.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committed up to £9.78 million of funding through the Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery (FRED) programme, to support innovative domestic Demand Side Response (DSR) demonstration projects.

Energy Systems Catapult is working with Evergreen Smart Powermyenergi, and Swansea University to understand the potential of DSR technology.

Demand Side Response

Demand-side response (DSR) uses smart technologies to increasing consumer demand for energy when supplies are high or reduce demand when supplies are low.

Innovative digital platforms can  reduce consumer demand at times of peak energy consumption or take advantage of times of excess renewable generation by working with smart technologies such energy storage, heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs).

EVs could offer valuable capacity to balance the grid as more people start to drive them in the future. However, consumers will reject DSR if it prevents them using their cars as they want to – it needs to
be designed to fit into their daily lives.

Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery trial

The FRED trial is testing a digital platform developed by Evergreen Smart Power which integrates with smart technologies, such as electric vehicle charging or smart hot water tanks, to manage electricity demand in real time based on price signals from the electricity grid.

The Evergreen platform works with myenergi’s zappi, a smart EV charger that can also use power from the electricity grid or from household solar panels (if consumers have them) to charge their electric vehicle.

zappi allows consumers to manage how their car is charged. For example, by scheduling the vehicle to begin charging at a certain time of day or night, by specifying the number of kWh they want delivered to the car or the level of charge they want in the battery.

Energy Systems Catapult is gathering insights about consumers’ expectations, understanding and experiences of this flexible approach to energy consumption.

Key points

Insights into how consumers use and charge their Electric Vehicles (EVs) is needed to design a DSR service that people will buy into.

This research fills that gap in two parts; firstly, understanding what consumers want when they charge their EVs and secondly, how a select group of FRED triallists have reacted to DSR events within the trial.

Key findings from the report, Demand Side Response: Putting consumers in the driving seat, include:

  • Consumers are different – for any DSR service to be successful the service provider needs to understand consumers’ varying preferences around control and convenience and factor these into how DSR is delivered
  • Cost is just one of many things that influence when and how people charge their EVs – people also consider the level of charge they need (and are comfortable with), how ‘green’ the electricity is that they are charging with, battery health, other things they are using power for in their homes, to name a few.

Read the report

Demand Side Response: Putting consumers in the driving seat

Consumer Insight and Proposition Design

Helping innovators to research, design and test innovative products, services and business models with consumers.

Find out more