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Unlocking the opportunity for residential flexibility through standardisation

Demand side flexibility across Europe is growing. It’s multidimensional, from residential to commercial and industrial customers, kilowatts to kilowatt hours, and networks to electricity markets. But how are businesses seizing the opportunities it provides?

In a recent episode of Talking New Energy, the podcast from Delta-EE, host and Delta-EE Director Jon Slowe discussed the issues of standards and operability with guests Adriaan van Eck from the Flexibility Alliance Network, Nina Klein from the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and Lucinda Murley, Delta-EE Analyst.

They talked about the importance of standardisation if businesses are to access more customers and monetise their propositions.

When it comes to technical standards, Klein believes they can make it easier and more straightforward to access flexibility in the home.

“What these standards can do is provide a standardised way for these appliances to deliver flexibility services. Maybe that’s frequency response to help keep National Grid balancing supply and demand nicely, or maybe it’s flexibility to help relieve a local constraint in the distribution network.

“It provides the common interface to make sure that those flexibility services can be interoperable across different devices. By having a standardised interface, you can reach many more devices.”

Until standards are in place, regardless of how prepared the technology is, connecting assets is possible but it is more cumbersome to work across different products and technologies.

Van Eck shares, “from the research we did with, for instance, heating, we see that even a lot of heat pumps have some connectivity features, but the technology is so scattered, and protocols are so different we have decided we could not really call that ready for flexibility as it’s very hard to connect it.”

While the group was optimistic standards would be in place by 2025, they are not so convinced that businesses will be able to fully monetise them so soon.

Delta-EE Analyst Lucinda Murley says, “I’d like to think come 2025 100% of newly installed assets will be connectable. But it’s still open as to what standards will be dominant, and I am sceptical on whether flexibility will be fully monetised by then.  There will be a huge potential, but it’s up to the service providers to develop business models as to how to entice customers to benefit from the flexibility they have available.”

To find out more about what these industry experts think about the standardisation of residential demand side flexibility, listen to the podcast episode below.

If you want to know more about how businesses can best use flexibility, find out more about our flexibility research.

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