Industry expects data companies to beat utilities to use residential demand flexibility

Data businesses will be ahead of utilities in the rollout of residential demand management (RDM), which will allow users to participate in balancing supply and demand, according to a survey of industry professionals carried out by Green Energy Options (Geo), which develops smart energy products and services.

The survey questioned 150 visitors to the European Utility Week exhibition, held in Amsterdam in October. It found that 93% considered RDM to be important. When asked who would lead implementation, 32% said it would be  data businesses, compared with 28% who felt that it would be utilities. Aggregators were third, named by 19%.

The survey also asked about visitors’ own plans as active power users.

The industry members were ready to buy an electric vehicle, including a hybrid, plug-in or full EV, as their next car. Some 71% said that they would do so, and the vast majority (67%) of respondents also felt the EV market would grow rapidly over the next five years. Possibly as a consequence, 50% of respondents thought that there was some risk of brown-outs (low voltage events) caused by EV charging and 11% thought that the risk of brown-outs was high. Of those that said they would not buy an electric vehicle, two fifths (40%) were put off by the price whilst 37% were more concerned by charging issues.

When it came to home battery storage, industry professionals were less enthusiastic. Just over a quarter (27%) said they were thinking of purchasing a battery but 31% would not even contemplate the idea, and of these, a third said it was because it was too early in the market.

“The fact is that it is early in the maturity of the market, but this is further on than we expected,” said Geo chief strategy officer Simon Anderson. “It is clearly in the “early adopter” phase and that is very encouraging.”

Respondents were also asked how appealing the proposition of a hybrid home (which combines traditional and contemporary ways to power a home) was to them, which received a positive response, with 80% saying it was of high or medium appeal to them.