Largest-ever home energy flexibility trial will include EVs and heat pumps in 25k households

Over 25,000 households are set to take part in the UK’s largest ever home energy flexibility study. CrowdFlex, funded as a Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) project via National Grid ESO and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will include Octopus Energy and intelligent charging company Ohme.
The study will analyse customer energy use patterns to demonstrate and look at how they change in response to price signals from Octopus Energy’s smart tariffs and direct instructions from Ohme’s smart electric vehicle chargers and mobile app.
According to National Grid ESO’s Future Energy Scenarios, there will be 11 million EVs on British roads by 2030, and there is a government target to install 600,000 pumps a year by 2028. The groups say both technologies are a huge opportunity for effective use of flexibility, using renewable energy by shifting electricity demand into off-peak hours.
National Grid ESO and SSEN will use the results to better understand the potential of domestic flexibility in national and local grid balancing. This will pave the way for households to provide more flexibility to grids.
James Eddison, CTO and co-founder of Octopus Energy Group, said: “By scaling up our previous demand-side-response trials and joining forces with other key players in energy, we will for the first time be able to find out how big the role is that our homes can play in providing grid flexibility. This research project will help us demonstrate how we can use energy storage in our homes and flexible energy demand to exploit renewable energy and bring about the clean, green grid of the future, globally.”
Carolina Tortora, head of innovation strategy and digital transformation at National Grid ESO, said: “This project will give us some really exciting insight into how smart tariffs and technologies can influence the way people consume electricity and help us balance the grid. As greater volumes of less controllable renewable power joins the system, electricity consumers are only going to become more important in that balancing act.”

David Watson, chief executive and Founder of Ohme, said: “The journey to electrification is well underway in the UK but there’s a pressing need for more sophisticated collection and analysis of real-world data in order to maximise grid capacity to cope with increasing demand.

“Ohme’s intelligent charging technology can harness consumer data, energy data and transport data to gain unparalleled insight into actual EV driver behaviour, which has the potential to unlock a new universe of mass-market flexibility.”
Stewart Reid, head of future networks at SSEN, said:
“CrowdFlex is an exciting project which will support the unlocking of domestic flexibility. As we move to a smarter energy system utilising flexibility can help delay and avoid network reinforcement, and creates opportunities for households and businesses to play an active role in the energy system that serves them. This will be key in delivering a cost-effective, secure and inclusive transition to net zero.”