The UK government is pinning its hopes on a ‘smart energy’ revolution to help keep the lights on as a generation of power stations reach the end of their serviceable lives.
Faced with a resulting energy gap and consequent blackouts, ministers are scrambling for innovative means of managing consumption by working with the ‘internet of energy’ to allow household appliances such as fridges, washing machines and dishwashers to modulate their power consumption at peak times.
This has been made possible by individuals and businesses generating their own power, storing it and drawing on it when required, incentivised by the introduction of off-peak tariffs.
Nicola Shaw, executive director of the National Grid, told BBC News: “We are at a moment of real change in the energy industry. From an historic perspective we created energy in big generating organisations that sent power to houses and their businesses. Now we are producing energy in those places - mostly with solar power.”
It is hoped that such measures will mitigate the need to build more gas and nuclear power plants to augment intermittent wind and solar electricity generation.