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National Grid scheme to ration households’ power use at peak times

February 8, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness





Households will be paid to ration their power usage at peak times as the National Grid scrambles to reduce pressure on Britain’s energy infrastructure.

From Friday up to 1.4m households will be paid if they cut their normal electricity consumption at certain two-hour periods during the day, as an experiment to see how households’ behavior might be changed. 

The move is a pilot scheme intended to pave the way for a broader overhaul of the country’s billing system as the UK ditches reliable but dirty fossil fuel plants.

Officials want to encourage people to charge cars and use appliances at different times during the day and night to reduce the pressure on the electricity grid and limit the amount of new capacity that needs to be built as demand for electricity grows.

The results of the trial will help the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), which manages Britain’s electricity supply and demand, work out how best to design and run the system as the UK shifts away from fossil fuels.

Isabelle Haigh, head of National Control at ESO, said: “System flexibility is vital to help manage and reduce peak electricity demand and keep Britain’s electricity flowing securely.

“This trial will provide valuable insight into how suppliers may be able to utilise domestic flexibility to help reduce stress on the system during high demand, lower balancing costs and deliver consumer benefits.”

Demand for electricity is set to soar in coming decades as millions of people ditch their petrol and diesel cars for electric models and swap gas-fired boilers for electric heat pumps or hydrogen made from renewable electricity, as part of the Government’s push to cut carbon emissions.

This will happen at the same time as coal and gas-fired power stations make way for more and more wind and solar power, which are intermittent, requiring greater management of the grid to make sure demand always matches supply to prevent possible blackouts.

The number of new power stations, batteries and other infrastructure projects that need to be available to meet that overall demand will depend on the extent of daily peak requirements – for example, when everyone comes home and switches on the kettle and television after work.

Officials want to see if they can lessen the peaks and spread out demand, for example by encouraging people to charge their cars overnight instead of when they get home, or running appliances when they are at work rather than in the evening.

This could be achieved by energy suppliers rolling out time-of-use tariffs such as the Octopus’s Agile tariff, which means customers buy electricity at cheaper rates outside of peak hours, with appliances automatically set up to optimise their energy usage.

In the trial running from Friday, 1.4m customers of Octopus Energy who have smart meters will get free electricity for certain defined two-hour periods, including 4.30pm to 6.30pm, if they cut their use below usual levels.

The trial builds on a similar effort Octopus Energy ran on November 5, 2020, when customers cut 60pc of their power usage over a two-hour event.

As well as spreading out demand, it is hoped electric cars could eventually be used as a sort of giant battery system, charging up when there is a lot of electricity being generated by wind turbines, and selling electricity back to the grid when needed if their owners do not need it at the same time.

Guy Newey, of Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Making the whole system more flexible is an absolutely essential part of the transition [to a lower carbon grid].

“How do you make the most out of your energy infrastructure? Smart tariffs and digital technology has huge potential in that area.

“We don’t know yet how consumers are going to respond. But if a lot of it’s automated and going on in the background, and I know I’m going to get a slightly lower price, then I think we’ll find that people are pretty happy to do that.

“And if that avoids the need to build however many gigawatts of new energy then that’s potentially a really important saving for consumers. It’s all about making the system as smart as possible and this trial seems an important step in that direction.”

James Eddison, co-founder of Octopus Energy Group, said: “It’s a tremendous opportunity to unlock flexibility at an unprecedented scale, and we can’t wait to get started.”

We have long known why the ridiculously expensive smart meter programme was wheeled out.

And when customers inevitably fail to respond to voluntary rationing, what then? Compulsory rationing is the only option left.

But the idiots in charge seem to think that transferring a bit of demand from peak periods will solve all of our problems.

Good luck with that when the wind stops blowing for a week or two, as it does regularly every winter.

  1. Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
    February 8, 2022 7:35 pm

    Why should I ration my power usage just because the guvmnt can not sort their problems, NO WAY!

    • Anmadeli permalink
      February 8, 2022 11:37 pm

      I am with you. It’s not free after all.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 9, 2022 10:37 am

      There’s a price for everything. But I’m pretty sure everyone’s price to do this is far higher than bureaucrats think.

  2. February 8, 2022 7:40 pm

    It is criminal irresponsibility which brought us to this point. Virtue signalling politicians pandering to the impossible dreams of useful idiots fronting up very dark and dangerous people who do not have our best interests at heart. Sad to say the whole government should resign but god knows what rubbish we would get in it’s place!

  3. Mark Hodgson permalink
    February 8, 2022 7:50 pm

    “It’s all about making the system as smart as possible and this trial seems an important step in that direction.”

    I see nothing smart in destroying a system that worked and replacing it with one where rationing is the order of the day.

    “It’s a tremendous opportunity to unlock flexibility at an unprecedented scale, and we can’t wait to get started.”

    Talk about 1984 Newspeak. “Unlock flexibility” = rationing.

  4. February 8, 2022 7:52 pm

    If only those smart meters would automatically disconnect all Greens & enviros when demand peaks daily.

    • Andrew Mark Harding permalink
      February 8, 2022 8:46 pm

      I’ll drink to that!

      • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
        February 9, 2022 2:57 pm

        Well said mate and I will join you!

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 8, 2022 7:56 pm

    I foresee a whole lot of meter-bypassing causing no end of damage to property and people.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 9, 2022 9:56 am

      I recently heard a Fire Service chief express his concerns over increasing electricity prices.
      There has apparently been an increase in the use of paraffin heaters in electric only flats (with the resultant dangers) as it is now cheaper. Forward to the 19th century..

  6. Gamecock permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:12 pm

    ‘The move is a pilot scheme intended to pave the way for a broader overhaul of the country’s billing system as the UK ditches reliable but dirty fossil fuel plants.’

    Put it to vote. “Reliable but dirty (sic)” will win easily.

    ‘From Friday up to 1.4m households will be paid if they cut their normal electricity consumption at certain two-hour periods during the day, as an experiment to see how households’ behavior might be changed.’

    In phase the second, their power will be cut off for those two-hour periods, having demonstrated they can get by without it.

    And where is the climate justice? You can’t just pay people with houses, you should pay homeless people, too.

    ‘Up to 1.4m families offered trial aimed at preventing blackouts as Britain prepares for green revolution’

    Uhhh . . . Rachel, you just used ‘blackouts’ and ‘green revolution’ in the same sentence. Quite a confession.

  7. February 8, 2022 8:17 pm

    What the government is saying here is: “As we are deliberately refusing to access the gas which lies beneath our feet by refusal to encourage ‘Fracking’ we require you to upset your life and convenience to avoid the consequences of blackouts and coercion.”

    Best read behind the gobbledegook. Best, also to ponder upon the fact that the zero policy behind this will have no effect whatsoever on global emissions or purported warming, which is currently NOT happening. ( The Pause is now over 7 years and increasing)

    • Vernon E permalink
      February 9, 2022 10:54 am

      cognog2: I see from yesterday’s GB News that Farage is preparing to come out to lead a referendum on Net Zero. I think this very unwise. It will eventually come down to the question and the age. If sixteen-year-olds are elibible and the question is suitably slanted (as it wiill be) it will be lost and then “le deluge”. Farage is hanging everything on fracking and raising peoples hopes (falsely). There will be no shale gas bonanza as he promises. Cuadrilla’s tests proved conclusicely thay our shales (Bowland at least) do not have the permeability to yield viable gas flows at any safe magnitude The were allowed 0.5 which is ridiculously low but they went up to 2.7 – which is getting marginal and was the reason they were shut down, but still the gas didn’t flow. This is absolutely a commom occurence in the shale industry and nothing to be surprised about. Nobody is going to invest in another attempt without total government support – financial and political

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        February 9, 2022 2:27 pm

        Sorry Vernon, Your sentence:

        “Cuadrilla’s tests proved conclusicely thay our shales (Bowland at least) do not have the permeability to yield viable gas flows at any safe magnitude The were allowed 0.5 which is ridiculously low but they went up to 2.7 – which is getting marginal and was the reason they were shut down, but still the gas didn’t flow.”

        …really isn’t accurate or meaningful. What’s the “allowed 0.5” and the “went up to 2.7” supposed to be?

        The flow rate of fracking and the commerciality of a fracked well depends not just on the intensity of fracking. It also depends on the well length, the number of intervals fracked and the specifics/rock mechanics of the shale target interval. Concluding the whole of the Bowland Shale is homogenous and therefore uneconomic on the basis of one tiny area tested using just 2 wells, the second of which the test was prematurely halted due to stimulating a small fault, is nonsense. In the case of the second Cuadrilla well they only injected 13% of the planned proppant volume and only managed 6 of the targeted 45 stages originally planned.

        On the basis of what you appear to be saying, oil companies would walk away from everything after one or two unsuccessful wells. Writing off the entire UK shale gas potential on this basis…..well we would never have developed the North Sea if we followed your guidance.

      • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
        February 9, 2022 3:01 pm

        Vernon you are a bare faced liar, sue me!

  8. H Davis permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:18 pm

    I live in the U.S. Some years ago we had 2 electric kilns in the basement and signed up for what was called the “time of day” rate. The kilns used about 7kw each and ran for 8-10 hours so it made sense to run them overnight and save some money. It worked pretty well. But eventually we got rid of the kilns and found that even though the night time/weekend rate was lower the day time rate was higher than it would be on the regular residential tariff. Without the kilns there just wasn’t much electrical load that could be switched from day to night, and we had an all electric house. Running the heat pump (used for heating and air conditioning) only at night was a non-starter and the washer and dryer didn’t use enough electricity to matter (no kids). The only significant load was the hot water heater. So we switched back to the regular residential rate. Our average usage was just under about 1000 kwh/month.

    As an interesting aside – I did a lot of measuring using a device called a Kill-A-Watt which measures the power and energy usage of any device plugged into it. We had a side by side refrigerator/freezer; the refrigerator door on one side and the freezer door on the other. This design left about a 3/8″ gap between the doors that is not well insulated and in a humid environment will produce condensation on the exposed area of the cabinet between the doors. The manufacturer puts a heater behind this area to warm it and prevent the condensation. My measurements showed that this heater (which you could turn off) used 17% of the total energy. Quite a lot I thought.

    • February 9, 2022 12:10 pm

      It’s not at all certain there will be much of an “off peak” period overnight. People are going to charge their vehicles at that time. In cold periods it’s also likely we’ll have to leave our heat pumps operating 24h to stand a chance of keeping warm. Once the temperature of your premises has dropped, a heat pump will take ages to warm it up again.

      • February 9, 2022 4:50 pm

        We are already advised to run heat pumps 24/7 for the reason you mentioned – it takes hours to warm up again after being switched off.

  9. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:38 pm

    “But if … I know I’m going to get a slightly lower price, then I think we’ll find that people are pretty happy to do that.”

    Talk about dim! 🙂

  10. Peter F Gill permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:46 pm

    The reasons for the introduction of so called smart meters were never fully mentioned. There are those who foresaw the need for demand control. Of course more sophistication would be called for but maybe we are already on the slippery slope.

    • Dick Goodwin permalink
      February 9, 2022 10:55 am

      The whole smart metre idea came from the EU so ‘control’ was always on the agenda from Day 1.

      • Peter F Gill permalink
        February 9, 2022 1:10 pm

        Not quite right Dick. There were different motivations in the early 1970s. In the UK, for example, electricity companies in particular wondered if remote electronic meter reading would be cheaper than sending round meter readers. At that time it was found not to be the case. I know because a friend of mine led the WSA Study. There were other motivations too but at the time as far as I know not demand control which surfaced later.

      • Micky R permalink
        February 9, 2022 2:58 pm

        Smart meters are designed to control demand, hence the ability to remotely disconnect the supply via a smart meter.

  11. Graeme No.3 permalink
    February 8, 2022 8:47 pm

    Perhaps the Greens and their gullible supporters should campaign on the slogan “back to the 1970’s”.

    • Andrew Mark Harding permalink
      February 8, 2022 8:53 pm

      More like the 1940’s?

      ‘Put that light out!’

      • Iggie permalink
        February 9, 2022 6:58 am

        Q: What did we use before candles?
        A: Electricity

  12. ecobunk permalink
    February 8, 2022 9:11 pm

    A huge difficulty is that the intermittency characteristics of renewables do not match with likely routines acceptable or even feasible for normal people. Wind power suffers from days of low generation – days of sub 10% capacity factor. Solar produces little in the dead of winter, but excess mid day in mid summer when least needed. We need to see a plausible analysis to demonstrate that there is a possible means to manage this, and at what cost. So far government and industry strategies are not remotely credible.

    Claims that wind and solar can complement each other are wishful thinking, based on the fallacy that adding two random sequences will somehow cancel the randomness, rather than just result in a larger, ever less manageable random sequence.

    • February 9, 2022 12:12 pm

      Solar is not random !

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 9, 2022 12:35 pm

        “Solar is not random !” Rather depends on your definition. Solar output is hugely variable on a medium even short term basis. On the 4th January this year daily solar output was 12.6GWh (very high for such a poor time of year for solar insolation) however that was actually higher than the 12.5GWh generated on the 8th May 2021 when solar insolation was approaching its highest annual level.
        This level of future unpredictability is generally regarded as almost random.

  13. Coeur De Lion permalink
    February 8, 2022 9:27 pm

    A rise in atmospheric CO2 is unstoppable. So let’s get used to it. And realise it doesn’t affect the weather.

  14. Martin permalink
    February 8, 2022 9:40 pm

    Why I have successfully resisted a smart meter so far

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      February 9, 2022 2:28 pm

      Me too!

    • Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
      February 9, 2022 3:07 pm

      Moi aussi ^.^

  15. February 8, 2022 9:45 pm

    The provision of heat pumps as a replacement for gas boilers is defeated by the strictures of the Carnot cycle. Heat pumps depend on a continuous source of low-grade heat that can be pumped up to a higher temperature, using the inverse of the principle in a refrigerator. The quantity of heat required depends directly on the temperature differential – the larger the differential, the greater the quantity of heat required from the source.
    Air source heat pumps require a sufficient volume of air to function efficiently. With the housing density in most of Britain, a street of heat pumps will rapidly diminish the quantity of heat available so the source temperature must fall, with a corresponding impact on the local climate. Any water vapor in the atmosphere will collect in heat exchanger of the heat pump, further reducing its efficiency. The situation is that when your refrigerator requires defrosting – the efficiency falls and the compressor runs continuously. Ground source heat pumps suffer from similar problems and would be impossible to install in a street of British semis.
    Heat pumps work well in areas of low housing density; the wilds of America and Canada, or on the estates of Tory grandees, but cannot be seen as a feasible solution for the closely packed housing on British streets.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 8, 2022 11:25 pm

      I wonder if there have been any street level or district trials. I guess windy days might be better because the wind will change the air. But I find wind chills the house, so it might increase heat demand.

    • John Hultquist permalink
      February 9, 2022 5:31 am

      Urban density and heat pump efficiency sounds like a hypothesis that could be examined by an expert team of researchers. Now all we need to do is find such a team.

      By the way, I live in the “wilds of America”, have an air source heat pump, and a modern wood stove for use when the temperature is low and/or the electricity goes off. I also harvest my own firewood. Can those in packed housing on British streets, or other urban places, do that?

      • February 9, 2022 12:16 pm

        If everyone in Britain depended on collecting firewood, the whole country would be completely stripped of trees within weeks !

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 10, 2022 1:15 pm

        Kind of why we started using coal instead. Green BS is all about taking the human race backwards.

      • Micky R permalink
        February 10, 2022 1:40 pm

        The modern western world commenced with the Industrial Revolution, which was based on coal. The British were the primary architects of the Industrial Revolution; it was our gift to mankind, and yet one of glorious leaders reportedly stated the following at COP26.

        “It was here in Glasgow 250 years ago that James Watt came up with a machine that was powered by steam that was produced by burning coal, and yes, my friends, we have brought you to the very place where the doomsday device began to tick.”


    • JBW permalink
      February 9, 2022 11:16 am

      A developer has just announced a housing project for our village (c 400 homes) which they say will all be fitted with heat pumps for heating. Can’t wait to find out how well that works.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 9, 2022 12:45 pm

      It is interesting to note, Merv, that the measurement standard for Air to Water heat pumps is EN16147. This assumes a cold side sink of 7°C (which certainly is not very cold) and a hot side sink of just 35°C ( which certainly is not very warm and will not kill legionella in stored water). At these unrealistic parameters they manage to get the CoP of 3:1. Obviously in the real world as you detail these things will simply not work at anythin approaching those levels of fiction if indeed at all.

      • John Hultquist permalink
        February 9, 2022 5:13 pm

        My heat pump system is not connected to my hot water supply. My water heater uses electric resistance elements inside a tank — 40 gallons (~150 l.), but size is contingent on use. See the image here:

        The cost is higher than what the standard EN16147 wants, but the water is hot.

  16. marlene permalink
    February 8, 2022 10:10 pm

    They started this with a scheme and they will finish this with another scheme. And another after another…

  17. dodgy geezer permalink
    February 8, 2022 10:11 pm

    What this means is that, at times of the day when everyone wants electricity, only the rich people will be able to have it.

    How could anyone sell that policy?

  18. Phil D permalink
    February 8, 2022 10:53 pm

    The other major use for smart meters is going to be instant remote disconnection of high-use consumers at times of grid instability. It’ll be in the small print.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 8, 2022 11:27 pm

      Already happens on Eigg. Your main fuse trips at 5kW load.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        February 9, 2022 7:03 pm

        Caravan sites too!

  19. TinyCO2 permalink
    February 8, 2022 10:59 pm

    So people coming home from work can’t do the daily jobs they do before they get too tired to do them. They can’t even have a hot meal. Meanwhile the grid is rapidly aging the battery in their electric car. You’d have to save a lot on the electricity to balance that alone. The government wants people to run appliances while they’re out or asleep as advised against by the fire safety lot. Do the people who think these things up have everything delivered, from washing/ironing to hot takeaways?

    The other insanity is the idea that people get a better price if they use less. Less than what? Last year’s use? What if last years use was low because of random circumstance? What if your demands are always low? You’d be penalised for not being able to go lower?

    And if 4:30-6:30 isn’t enough? What if peak runs from 6:00 to 22:00?

  20. Vincent Booth permalink
    February 8, 2022 11:01 pm

    Leave appliances running when at work or during the night, will lead to more domestic fires, tumble dryers and washing machines should not be left running unattended.

    • Tim the Coder permalink
      February 9, 2022 9:52 am

      That’s a benefit. Once the house has burned down, it’s electricity demand reduces to zero.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 9, 2022 12:46 pm

      Given the Fire Service advise against this how will insurance claims be affected?

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 9, 2022 1:48 pm

        It seems the Fire Service are regularly being ignored these days. I posted elsewhere that senior officials are very concerned that the high electricity prices in electric only appartments/flats are causing people to turn to burning paraffin in old fashioned heaters with all the old fashioned dangers attached.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 10, 2022 1:17 pm

        Like people lighting barbecues indoors in Texas last February when the frozen windmills caused blackouts.

  21. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 8, 2022 11:43 pm

    One alternative is the Octopus Agile tariff that is supposed to reflect wholesale prices every half hour. It has a cap of 35p/kWh. But you can fill your boots and charge your car with super cheap power when it’s windy….

    When exactly?

  22. February 9, 2022 6:42 am

    I have some old unused sticking plasters that I am willing to sell to NG ESO.

    I also note that the local news this morning said that the two reactors at Hinkley B are closing this summer. It’s a pity that our wonderful government didn’t decide to have the two new reactors of Hinkley C ready to operate by the same time.

    • Micky R permalink
      February 9, 2022 7:23 am

      ” It’s a pity that our wonderful government didn’t decide to have the two new reactors of Hinkley C ready to operate by the same time.”

      It’s the same reason why previous governments didn’t build Sizewell C, Sizewell D and more 1993 onwards: incompetence.

      By now, we could have had substantial baseload generation from a fleet of PWR power stations, each with a potential 60 year lifespan.

      Sizewell C (twin reactor PWR) estimated construction cost in 1992: £3.5 billion. I’ll take ten please.

  23. John Peter permalink
    February 9, 2022 8:12 am

    I just hope that Boris is replaced by Sunak now so that we may be able to mitigate the worst effects of Miliband, Davies, Lord Deben, Cameron, Johnson, Sturgeon etc. who share the substantial responsibility of getting us to where we are at present. I would include the BBC and the Met Office as well as the scientists who must have known that there is no solid scientific evidence to back up the Climate Emergency.

  24. Richard Jarman permalink
    February 9, 2022 8:50 am

    This had the nudge unit’s pawprints all over it

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      February 9, 2022 10:22 am

      Nudging only works if people aren’t decided but on most things people have very firm convictions, even if they don’t admit it, even to themselves. If it did work we’d all be the right weight. People want to be thin but don’t want to give up the food. People might want to be net zero but don’t want to give up the lifestyle of beng warm, fed, clean, entertained, well travelled, etc.

  25. February 9, 2022 9:15 am

    to make sure demand always matches supply…we’ll strangle the demand somehow 🙄

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 9, 2022 10:36 am

      When governments insist on restricting demand to meet the supply they provide you are literally in a socialist rather than a market economy.

      It’s pretty much the economic definition.

  26. Ray Sanders permalink
    February 9, 2022 10:05 am

    Okay so the greens/environuts want a zero carbon grid. Here is a detailed analysis of how to achieve that with hard numbers and precedent examples. The author (Andy Dawson) has I believe contributed similar details to the GWPF.
    No rationing required, so how come the greens don’t want to know about it? Because they know it works?

  27. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 9, 2022 10:34 am

    How is an EV owner supposed to know whether he needs his car charged or not? One of the benefits of a car is you can simply step outside and go if there’s an emergency or a need. Your teenage daughter has missed the last bus home? Just wait for an hour whilst I recharge…

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 9, 2022 1:02 pm

      Micky, please don’t start me off! Just remember these effing retards.
      “On the road to Druridge is a plaque commemorating a victory won over 20 years ago.”
      These scumbags feel really pleased with themselves that they won the “battle” against a Westinghouse SNUPPS unit that by their own metrics have reduced “carbon emissions” by umpteen billions of tons. Perhaps the stupid tw@ts should now be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. I was kind of hoping the coal mine went ahead just to stuff them for stopping the nuclear plant.

    • Sobaken permalink
      February 9, 2022 1:16 pm

      If the plans to deploy EVs and heat pumps go through, this “smart grid” scheme basically ensures that not only electricity use is rationed, but also heating and driving as well. So you don’t get to have something when you decide you need it, you only get it when the government allows you to.
      Though even if it ever gets to this point, which I doubt it will, I wouldn’t expect this to last anyway. Building some peaker plants (well, tens of gigawatts) is a lot less costly than having such a politically unsustainable policy as rationing.

  28. cookers52 permalink
    February 9, 2022 10:47 am

    What could possibly go wrong

  29. Jack Broughton permalink
    February 9, 2022 11:47 am

    The BBC, ITV and general meja are re-kindling their fear campaigns as interest is generally waning. Only GB News gives coverage to the lunacy and lack of science behind the fear campaign. Nigel Farage proposes a referendum: at least this would bring into the open the lies about CO2 / trillions cost at no benefit and UK political foolishness over 2 decades.

    Putting it simple. we have scrapped a very good, reliable and secure power system and replaced it with one that is not fit for purpose at massive cost. And, all because some “scientists” claimed that the sky was falling.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 9, 2022 12:32 pm

      “Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.”
      ― Thomas Sowell

    • Micky R permalink
      February 10, 2022 7:23 am

      Talkradio is also a dissenting voice.

  30. Ray Sanders permalink
    February 9, 2022 11:54 am

    Posted on this before but clearly something is not adding up. A friend of mine has an off grid second home on the edge of Exmoor. He uses domestic heating oil for heating and hot water, propane for cooking and Red Diesel to run a small generator with an equivalent of a “Powerwall” system. The battery pack has an optimum charge rate of 3kW so he sized his generator accordingly. Whilst the control electronics are quite fancy the genny is fairly basic delivering 3kW @3,000 rpm and using a tad under 1 litre per hour. At 70p/litre (latest price paid on a bulk delivered order) and after some charge/discharge losses it works out at about 25p per kWh.
    Something is seriously awry if grid delivered electricity is now considerably more expensive than diy production from a tanker delivered (to your door) product on such a small scale. why are we allowing ourselves to be conned like this?

    • February 9, 2022 12:25 pm

      I’m afraid his price is about to double: no more red diesel.
      He could install some solar panels of course.

      • February 9, 2022 12:30 pm

        Actually I need to rescind the above comment ! It seems there is a red diesel exception for domestic use, so he is still OK (for now). Apologies.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 9, 2022 1:06 pm

        Actually KB even though Red Diesel is still allowed, most basic small gennys will run on domestic heating oil with a little lube added anyway. They sure ain’t about to ban domestic heating just yet and if they did they would be completely unelectable for certain in future. Shire counties use a lot of oil for heating.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 9, 2022 1:17 pm

        As a secondary point, there was a very simple reason he has not gone down the solar PV or any other “Green” option. He studied everything and realised that whatever he installed he would still need a genny as a back up anyway. So everything else became an additional cost over and above a basic genny. He calculated he would have to live to over 200 for it to make economic sense and that was after allowing for inflation.

    • Mikehig permalink
      February 9, 2022 2:28 pm

      Ray; that’s an interesting anecdote. It raises the question of what could be done by using a genny to run a mini-CHP system. A liquid-cooled machine of, say, 5 KW electric output would give at least 10 KW of useable heat, probably more.
      If the cooling system was adapted to heat a storage tank (indirectly), that could pre-heat the feed to a boiler or even heat the house directly, depending on demand.
      That would give a scheme like your friend’s 3 times the output per litre of diesel – about 8p per kWh.
      At a much larger scale there are CHP schemes using huge marine engines which get extraordinary overall efficiency figures – well over 90%.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 9, 2022 4:43 pm

        Yep bang on right. You can actually now buy domestic scale gas CHP units in the UK (Vliesman do them I think) and they are quite popular in Japan. Like you say I recall reading about an Icelandic trawler which was getting well over 90% efficiency for tri generation (heating and absorption freezing) as well as electricity and motive power from a suitably modified diesel.
        Isn’t this another example of where useful technological development is being stifled by government action in seeking to determine technologies to use?
        For my part I am still working on my home made wood alcohol still (methanol) for when the dark days come!

    • Micky R permalink
      February 10, 2022 12:37 pm

      ” Something is seriously awry if grid delivered electricity is now considerably more expensive than diy production from a tanker delivered (to your door) product on such a small scale. why are we allowing ourselves to be conned like this?”
      Unfortunately, it does not defy belief that the believers have managed to negate all the economies of scale that power stations and the National Grid should be able to achieve.
      Mini-CHP looks interesting

  31. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 9, 2022 12:29 pm

    Paul have you looked at today’s Times first leader? Wind is so cheap it needs no subsidies. And China installed more wind capacity etc etc etc. Heartbreaking.

  32. February 9, 2022 12:41 pm

    “it is hoped electric cars could eventually be used as a sort of giant battery system”

    I’ve seen this utter nonsense mentioned several times now. The people who think this is a good idea are living in a special kind of green la-la-land, about as divorced from reality as it is possible to get.

    The whole point about electric cars is that they have to be kept charged up to be useful. Their capacity is limited enough as it is, and the idea that an owner would willingly run down the battery is frankly insane.

    I think that this crazy idea is being used as a means of hiding the huge costs of providing battery backup to intermittent wind & solar generation.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 9, 2022 1:11 pm

      Indeed and of course it goes way beyond that. Homes are connected to single phase supplies at 230V +10/-6%. The only place they can export to has to be on the same phase and same voltage. That is normally just a few tens of homes at most and could even be in single figures. This notion that somehow it can be transformed up to even local Distribution Network system levels or Grid System Transmission levels is beyond parody. But hey it fills column inches of the Guardian!

      • Mikehig permalink
        February 9, 2022 5:30 pm

        To be fair, these issues are recognised by the more serious proponents.
        It’s more likely that we will see EVs being used as “powerwalls” to allow the owners to avoid peak tariffs rather than actually exporting to other houses. This would have the effect of cutting demand at peak times.
        Not many EVs need to charge everyday as few owners are high-milers. So it’s feasible for the car to provide, say, 10 – 20 kWh during the evening peak and recharge in the small hours of the morning.
        That’s more than enough juice for normal domestic uses over 3 or 4 hours. Of course it would be inadequate for heating or hot water without support from the grid.
        This concept was part of David McKay’s ideas for going CO2-free in his book “Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air” – which did a good job of showing how incredibly challenging and expensive it would be. That was 13 years ago…

  33. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 10, 2022 1:42 am

    Numbers behind the trial:

    Domestic flexibility is being trialled by a number of companies and coalitions as a potential path to reduce emissions during peak demand periods. This includes the Crowdflex project – run by SSEN Distribution, National Grid ESO, Octopus Energy and Ohme – which found that domestic flex could reduce peak demand by 23%.

    During Crowdflex’s ‘Big Turn Down’ event on 5 November 2020, Octopus Energy found that customers had the ability to reduce their electricity demand by 60% or 0.9kWh/customer over two hours. Scaling this up to the company’s full smart meter customer base, this could unlock 100-150MW.

  34. Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
    February 10, 2022 12:14 pm

    Kwarteng has now told Cuadrilla to seal the wells at Preston which (despite claims on their website that it is a privately owned British company) is ultimately owned by the Chinese National Offrshore Oill Company. I hope he warned them ^.^

  35. Colin R Brooks AKA Dung permalink
    February 10, 2022 12:15 pm

    OIL Grrr and Offshore more Grrrs

    • Peter F Gill permalink
      February 10, 2022 12:49 pm

      Another thing to worry about Colin – UK Power Networks is also ultimately owned by the Chinese and it’s our electricity supplier in Surrey.

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