The UK Government has not yet caught up with how technologies are evolving and the impact they could have on the electricity grid.
That’s according to a new report by Green Alliance, which states the power system is not prepared for the growing number of consumers choosing to buy small scale technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels.
Speaking to ELN at the launch today, Caterina Brandmayr, Policy Analyst and Lead Author of the report said: “This is the first thing that they have to recognise. They have to recognise that consumers actually want to participate in the energy system and they will have to shape the energy system and intelligently guide the transition towards a decentralised energy system in the UK if they want to harness this potential for small scale technologies.
The report warns as few as six EVs located close to one another and left to charge at peak times could lead to “brownouts” if they are left “entirely unmanaged”.
Ms Brandmayr adds if there is a passive uptake, it could result in an “emergency policy response”, cause grid congestion and lead to expensive network upgrades.
However she says if the government designs a smarter power system now, electric car batteries could store enough power to keep the UK’s lights on for seven hours at a time by 2025, “virtually eliminating blackouts” and distributed energy could save consumers more than £1.6 billion a year.
The report suggests having an independent body which can guide system design as the transition to a decentralised system will be a “complex process” and experts are needed to advise on what technologies might be better suited for the UK.
It also suggests distribution network operators must evolve into distribution system operators as they will have to “actively manage” the distribution grids.
The think tank adds the Capacity Market could be altered to add more value to small scale energy technologies.