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Electricity shake-up could save consumers ‘up to 40bn’ – BBC News

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Consumers in the UK could save billions of pounds thanks to major changes in the way electricity is attained, utilized and stored, the government has said.

New rules will make it easier for people to produce their own power with solar panel, storage it in batteries and sell it to the National Grid.

If they work, consumers will save 17 bn to 40 bn by 2050, according to the government and energy regulator Ofgem.

The regulations are due to come into influence over the next year.

They will reduce costs for someone who allows their clean machine to be turned on by the internet to maximise utilize of cheap solar power on a sunny afternoon.

And they will even support people who agree to have their freezers switched off for a few minutes to smooth requirement at peak times.

They’ll also advantage a business that enable us air-conditioning to be turned away briefly to help balance a spell of peak energy requirement on the National Grid.

Among the first to gain from the rule changes will be people with solar panels and battery storage. At the moment they are accused tariffs when they import energy into their home or export it back to the grid.

The government has realised that this rule must change because it deters people from using power more flexibly in a way that will benefit everyone.

World’s first swimming wind farm emerges

Thanks to improvements in digital technology, battery storage and renewables, these inventions in flexibility are already under way with millions of people across the UK generating and storing electricity.

The new rules have been designed to cash in on this.

The government will set up a “battery institute” to fund firms seeking major breakthroughs in battery research and growing.

Its critics say it has been slow to support the burgeoning battery industry – and has allowed South Korea, Japan and China to take a lead.

The tiny energy savings of millions of people and firms will be pulled together into packages by merchants, who will give substantial clods of energy saving to the National Grid at the click of a computer.

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Image caption Under these systems you should be able to tell your machine to do the washing when the sunlight comes out, to take advantage of solar power

So instead of predicting peak demand then house power station to meet it, energy administrators will be able to trade in Negawatts – negative electricity.

Business Secretary Greg Clark will outline further a 246 m investing in the UK’s industrial strategy, with energy at its heart.

He will offer details of a competition for innovation in battery technology, which he says will help make the UK a world leader in battery design and manufacture.

Nicola Shaw, executive director of National Grid, previously told BBC News that between 30% and 50% of fluctuations on the grid could be smoothed by the families and businesses adjusting their demand at peak times.

‘Moment of change’

“We are at a moment of real change in the energy industry, ” she said.

“From a historical view, we created energy in big generate organisations that sent power to houses and their businesses.

“Now we are rendering energy in those places – mostly with solar power.”

An Ofgem source told BBC News the current rules on trading energy are not fit for the digital age because they often deter people applying energy flexibly.

The regulations were stimulated before the digital revolution and before the boom in variable renewable energy.

Hacking fears

Industry figures talk about the seismic change that’s sweeping them along.

At a recent UK conference, energy administrators were asked which of them could see the shape of the industry in a decade; only half a dozen people raised their hands.

Some will advise a certain degree of carefulnes amongst the enthusiasm: the more the energy industry espouses the digital age, the more vulnerable it will be to hacking.

Recent reports suggest that Russian hackers may already have tried to compromise the system.

Ofgem says the new rules will throw the measures put in place to fighting interference.

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin

Read more: http :// www.bbc.co.uk/ news/ business-4 0699986

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