Making Legacy Thermal Storage Heating fit for the Smart Grid
Thermal storage heaters, charged using overnight off-peak electricity, have been used for domestic space heating in the UK and other countries since the 1980s. However, they have always been difficult for consumers to manage efficiently and, with the advent of a high proportion of renewables in the electricity generation mix, the time of day when they are charged needs to be more flexible. There is also a need to reduce peaks in the demand profile to allow distribution networks to support new sources of demand such as electric vehicles. We describe a trial of a smart control system that was retrofitted to a group of six dwellings with this form of heating, with the objectives of providing more convenient and efficient control for the users while varying the times at which charging is performed, to flatten the profile of demand and make use of locally-generated renewable electricity. The trial also employs a commercially-realistic combination of a static time-of-day tariff with a real time tariff dependent on local generation, to provide consumers with the opportunity and incentive to reduce their costs by varying times of use of appliances. Results from operation over the 2015-16 heating season indicate that the objectives are largely achieved. It is estimated that on an annualised and weather-adjusted basis most of the users have consumed less electricity than before intervention and their costs are less on the trial tariffs. Critical factors for success of this form of system are identified, particularly the need to facilitate hands-on control of heating by thrifty users and the importance of an effective and sustained user engagement programme when introducing the technology, to ensure users gain confidence through a readily-accessible source of support and advice.
Collaborative paper with Oxford University Environmental Change Institute and Energy Local Ltd. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Boait, P., Snape, J.R., Darby, S., Hamilton, J. and Morris, R. (2017) Making Legacy Thermal Storage Heating fit for the Smart Grid. Energy and Buildings, 138, pp. 630-640
Research Group : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
Research Institute : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
Peer Reviewed : Yes