Octopus urges National Grid to drop coal for cheaper option

The energy supplier urges National Grid to replace coal with customer flexibility as a solution to meet high energy demand periods

Octopus Energy is urging National Grid to abandon its reliance on costly coal-fired power stations for backup energy.

Instead, they advocate for embracing consumer flexibility as a permanent, low carbon, and cost-effective alternative.

According to Octopus Energy’s recent White Paper, National Grid paid an estimated £395 million last winter to keep coal power plants on standby.

In contrast, deploying consumer flexibility at full scale would have cost just a quarter of that amount, approximately £100 million, while significantly reducing emissions, according to the Octopus analysis.

Consumer flexibility involves incentivising users to shift their energy usage, as demonstrated by Octopus Energy’s “Saving Sessions” programme.

It was reported that more than 700,000 participants with smart meters took part in the programme last winter, effectively shifting around 1.9GWh of electricity away from peak demand periods.

Octopus suggests scaling up the results from the programme to all 17.3 million UK homes equipped with smart meters could unlock nearly 2.1GW of demand shift, enough to entirely replace the need for coal as a backup energy source.

Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus Energy, said: “We’ve demonstrated the potential of consumer flexibility.

“It’s now time to implement this approach across the UK and put an end to our reliance on expensive and polluting coal power plants. In the midst of a cost of living crisis, it makes no sense to pay coal power plants when we could be supporting hard-pressed customers instead.”

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