In 2015 UK electricity demand was met by 34.9% gas, 17.1% coal, 21.8% nuclear, 23.5% renewables and around 2.6% ‘ oil & other’. At The Rushlight Show today, both Jeremy Pocklington (Director of General Markets & Infrastructure, DECC) & Ian Ellerington (Head of Innovation Delivery, DECC) stood by nuclear as having an important strategic role to play despite recent news that the £18 billion Hinkley Point C project is stuttering and is decades away from being fully operational.
Add to this the recent Institute of Mechanical Engineers Report stating that the UK would need to build 30 new CCGT plants to meet the outcome of the Governments policy, and noting that only 4 have been built in the last 10 years, it is easy to see how both industry and consumers have increasing uncertainty of security of energy supply.
Add to this the retirement of the UK’s ageing nuclear fleet, Amber Rudd’s commitment to phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and the cut in renewable energy subsidies, current policies seem to be making it “almost impossible for UK electricity demand to be met by 2025.” – the National Grid is already on the hunt for additional power for next winter with an 80% chance of blackouts next year. Suddenly the UK government’s aptly named “trilemma” to provide secure, affordable and clean energy whilst “keeping the lights on” becomes ever clearer.
Add to this public opposition to shale gas and we have the probability, as defined in the IMechE report, that the electricity supply gap in 2025 could be 40-55% of demand. This, combined with “insufficient incentive for companies to invest in electricity infrastructure.” suddenly makes self-generation of electricity seem very appealing…
There seems to be a general consensus that decentralized energy is coming, with ideas of microgrids and new trading models; heat is also a big part of decarbonizing the UK energy system. Nick Butler notes that “if governments want to de-carbonise the economy it is hard to think of a better use for public money and subsidies than researching storage. It improves efficiency by allowing consumers to use energy when they want rather than only at the moment of production; it’s growing cheaper at a rate likely to challenge at least part of the existing energy system within 5 years and when serious and objective financial institutions start saying such things, it would be foolish not to take notice!”
This is probably why people are now taking notice of Minus7….
Minus7’s technology harvests energy 24/7 through a solar endothermic roof and stores it in thermal storage tanks via an energy processor. The processor has a water-to-water heat pump that upgrades the heat in the thermal stores if/when required and the stores work as a battery for the heating and hot water of the home.
Minus7’s technology can reduce electricity usage of houses by a third across the year as it does not always need to run the heat pump and chooses not to run it during times of peak electricity demand. It can shift that electricity use to times of day when there is low demand and thus low prices. During those periods of the day when the electricity price is negative, Minus7 can store that free energy as heat. In this way consistent heating and hot water to the building can be guaranteed, without forcing users into substantial back-up costs usually associated with renewable energy solutions. Minus7 is also proven to deliver a levelised cost of energy that is less than gas, providing heating and hot water for a 3-bedroom semi for less than £200 per year.
As I watched several technologies pitch for first-stage funding at The Rushlight Show this year, it was nice to know that Minus7 already has the resources to move to the next stage of the innovation adoption curve that Ian Ellerington mentioned – having just received funding to expand the team to 15 and enable management of a large scale project portfolio.
As I left The Rushlight Show today, I realised Minus7’s technology provides a complete solution to the “trilemma” to provide secure, affordable & clean energy – able to significantly reduce grid demand, help to meet CO2 targets, alleviate fuel poverty and provide heat, hot water and energy storage all at the same time. It doesn’t need further R&D investment and can move to scale tomorrow.
At EcoBuild 2016, Minus7 will be launching its next building integrated innovation – embedding PV into the solar endothermic roof. With micro-generation and storage in each property, demand on the grid can be significantly reduced. At scale, Minus7 can take all UK residential properties off the grid for large parts of the year – there would be no need for additional infrastructure power generation and the UK could genuinely become a leader in distributed micro-generation and local demand management.
As I left the show and walked towards the tube station, I smiled as I realised 2016 is definitely the year to start a heating revolution!
Visit stand E1240 at EcoBuild2016 or pass on the phone number: 01983 282844.
Emma Harris, Marketing Director Minus7