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Consultancy case study

Smart Heat project

The Smart Heat project aimed to increase understanding of how loads from increased electric heating could be managed with demand-side flexibility.

 

The client background

An increase in electric heating, such as heat pumps, is a key trend in the energy transition and will result in increased loads on electricity networks. We worked with Electricity North West Limited (ENWL) a DNO (Distribution Network Operator), to understand what these impacts are likely to be and how they could be managed through demand-side flexibility.

What the client needed and their key question(s)

The client wanted to understand whether increasing electric heating demand could be managed through (a) network-side flexibility using an enhanced variable rating approach for distribution transformers, and (b) residential demand side flexibility provided by electrical heating systems within homes.

First, it was required for ENWL to understand the impact of increased electrified heat on their network under various scenarios. Then, the project explored the mitigation of this impact through network and demand-side flexibility. LCP Delta’s contribution to the project focused on demand-side flexibility.

 

Our solution

We carried out several pieces of analysis for the project:

  • Identification of likely heat decarbonisation scenarios in northwest England based on market evidence and heat decarbonisation targets.
  • Modelling to assess the impacts of different scenarios on ENWL’s network.
  • Customer research to understand customer attitudes to flexibility. Using surveys and focus groups we explored customer acceptance of heating flexibility, such as changing heating patterns or adopting storage technologies. We also identified barriers to adopting flexibility measures and potential solutions.
  • Technical analysis to identify the potential for demand-side network flexibility, and the costs and benefits of doing so.

 

Our impact

Our unique combination of market intelligence, technical analysis and customer insight enabled us to draw key insights to feed into ENWL’s network planning. The research found that only a low uptake of heat pumps could be accommodated with existing network capacity. Demand-side heat flexibility measures have a relatively small reduction in peak demand, but many customers were willing to provide this if suitably compensated.

 

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