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Living with managed charging for a year

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

Over the course of this project, the Evergreen digital platform has been managing electric vehicle charging for almost 170 consumers.

Our Consumer Insight team worked with consumers over the course of a year to understand their experiences of DSR, good and bad, in as much detail as possible.

We tasked a smaller group of the triallists (~35) to use instant messenger to tell us if and when they noticed a DSR event had taken place. This allowed us almost first-hand experience of what triallists felt when they noticed, or indeed, didn’t notice a DSR event.

Key findings from the report, Living with managed charging for a year, include:

  • Many people are unsure when DSR had happened, with 64% of DSR events going undetected, however some people were better at detecting than others
  • Consumers are likely to have concerns over managed charging if it leaves them worse off. For example, if DSR occurs outside of their cheap tariff rate, or imports from the grid instead of making use of power from their solar or battery.
  • Little disruption was caused by the DSR event but some people disliked the perception of reduced control. So visibility over whether a DSR event had occurred during a smart charging period, whether detected or not, was important.

Read the report

Living with managed charging for a year

Consumer Insight and Proposition Design

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