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The Time Cheese Company Ltd is Up and Running!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

How Far up the Adoption Curve for Domestic DSR are we?

There are around 30 million electricity consumers in UK and as many of them as possible need to be shifting their time-of-use away from peaks if we are to avoid an extremely costly upgrade of the distribution system , as well as a ramped-up rollout of nuclear at £8,000/kW and rising.
That's the challenge. But how many are already doing so?

There are in UK around

  • 800,000 solar PV installation owners or tenants, most of whom take advantage of "free" electricity when the sun shines
  • 1.7 million storage heating installations, on economy 7 tariffs, using night-time electricity.
  • 0.1 million heat pumps, many of which are on smart connections
  • A few hundred thousand people like you and I who know that DSR is a good idea

So around 10% of domestic users, 3 million, have some awareness of the value of time-shifting, and most are at least taking some action where it is to their financial benefit.

So we are  at the end of the early adoption phase for awareness - the 10% of innovators and early adopters needed to get a technology off the ground.

Of course awareness and appropriate action are not the same thing, but awareness is a necessary precursor to action. 

Let's keep pumping the message out!

I am, are you?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Is Solar in UK Like Solar in California?

On 3rd May, California had a capacity crisis. Their hydro power reserve had run out of water because of the drought, there was little wind, and the peak demand even in air-conditioned California was after dark. Demand side response came to the rescue thanks largely to Enernoc, and 800 MW was lopped off the  34 GW or so of peak demand, preventing large-scale outages. (The green net demand curve is net of solar PV and of DSR)
But look at how much of the near-peak demand is met by solar.
In UK , in winter, this would not happen. Our peak demand occurs several hours after the watery winter sun has already set. 
All the more reason, then, to be concerned about getting as much time-shifting as possible out of the winter peak. The alternatives to this are:
  • Power outages
  • More expensive nuclear electricity
  • More carbon emitting gas-fired electricity
  • Expensive and polluting storage
  • The energy trilemma writ large - unaffordable, unsustainable, unreliable electricity

So - be an early adopter, get ahead of the game, and prepare for next winter by planning to shift all water heating appliances out of the 3-8pm peak! Hundreds of thousands already time-shift, do you?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Where is Storage Needed?

Is electricity storage a good idea? Where is it needed?

  • In the countryside, where the solar and wind power are generated?
  • Or in towns and cities, where most of the electricity is consumed?
Peak demand is an issue in the cities, but handling PV on a sunny day is a rural issue - so we probably will need both - but the more we shift our demand, the less expensive storage we will need - happy time-shifting!

Friday, 23 June 2017

If we don't have more Nuclear, how will Peak Winter Demand be met?

The National Audit Office is questioning the value for money to consumers of Hinkley C.
What is the alternative?

  • Not more solar or wind, which are intermittent or nonexistent at peak times
  • Not more gas, which is a carbon emitter.
  • Not more hydro, there aren't enough rivers or mountains in UK
Which leaves
  • Undersea links to the continent, i.e. let someone else worry about it
  • Storage, which is expensive and some say carbon emitting 
  •  Time-shifting, as I've always said

Simple but not easy unless we all do our bit. Tens of thousands are already doing it, are you?

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Make Hay while the Sun Shines

Domestic DSR is about sufficiency.
If we all do our bit for flattening demand, we will need far fewer new power stations, of whatever type.
It also means using renewable electricity when the sun shines or the wind blows.
But we need to know when there is a lot of slack in the system.
Hence the Time Cheese.
How helpful would it be to you to have one?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Which Appliances are Best to Time-shift?

It is sometimes said that there is not enough energy consumed by wet appliances to eliminate 7GW of peak consumption by time-shifting them alone. I leave you to judge.

The trend of wet appliances’ consumption has been inexorably upwards, and is now second only to consumer electronics. Much of the increase is due to an undesirable increase in the use of tumble dryers, but I am not here to preach austerity. If you live in a flat or gardenless house, it may be the only realistic option.

Reading off the above graph, we have a Mtoe figure for each appliance type:

Mtoe 2014
GWh (Mtoe x 11,630)
Consumer Electronics
Home Computing

There are around 80 winter days when it is desirable to reduce peak consumption by up to 7GW and by around  18GWh spread over the 5 hours of the peak, so by a total of 80x18=1440 GWh/year. This is 1.7% of total annual domestic consumption, and 9.5% of total annual wet consumption.

There are of course other candidates for time-shifted consumption as well as wet appliances.  Cold devices (mainly fridges and freezers in UK) and increasingly home computing (laptops, smartphones and tablets all have batteries) are if anything even less time-sensitive in direct grid consumption than wet appliances, and are now already 24% of the total vs wet appliances 18.5%. 

The reason we are not focussing on them is the relatively low consumption per device. A typical house may have three wet appliances and ten or more cold and computing ones.

Would you rather go for the wet or the cold and computing!

 It’s up to you. Both is best!

Power to the People now becomes power to, for, by with and from the People.

We are all prosumers now. In the world of food, the Slow Food movements has renamed consumers co-producers - on the basis that when we buy something, we are collectively responsible for the whole supply chain that brings it to us.
 The same can be said of electricity - and we all have the scope to affect the supply chain. The easiest way to begin to do this is to use less - and then to use it when we choose to.
 I choose to use electricity for discretionary purposes at night and when the sun is shining. What do you do?
There are no right or wrong answers, just the power to make informed choices.