27 March 2024 Company News, Innovation, Net Zero, Press Release

SMS begins testing domestic demand-side response solutions for UK Government’s Flexibility Innovation Programme

Home EV Charger

The project aims to develop interoperable domestic flexibility applications critical for encouraging the shift to a distributed, low-carbon energy system

Smart energy solutions firm, SMS Ltd, has begun the laboratory testing of Interoperable Demand Side Response (IDSR) solutions as part of the UK Government’s Flexibility Innovation Programme.

SMS and its partners – Engage Consulting Limited and Netherlands Measurement Institute (NMi) – were awarded the lab testing contract last year by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Funded by the Government’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the Flexibility Innovation Programme aims to establish new ways of achieving domestic flexibility through developing new IDSR applications.

This includes how behind-the-meter Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) such as electric vehicle chargers, batteries, heat pumps and whitegoods can achieve interoperability (via the PAS 1878/79 Standard) in order to optimise the demand flexibility potential of UK homes.

Unlocking the domestic demand-side response market is a key enabler of the UK’s transition to a secure, flexible energy system and the Government’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2050. A key part of achieving this wider target is the goal for 100% of electricity in Britain to be generated by renewables by 2035.

By providing flexibility, an increasing number of ESAs installed across British homes will facilitate this by balancing the intermittency of renewable generation, helping decrease dependence on fossil fuels to power the grid. An estimated 30GW of low carbon flexible assets are projected to be deployed across the grid by 2030 (representing a three-fold increase on today’s levels).

The Electricity System Operator (National Grid ESO) has already begun to encourage this journey through the introduction of its Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), which during its first two winters has seen over 1.6m homes and businesses participate, delivering almost 500MW of new flexibility to the system. The scheme, which pays people to use less electricity during peak times, incentivises the use of ESAs as these devices can be programmed to take part automatically, potentially saving a lot more energy and money without the need for consumers manually changing how and when they use power.

Mark Hamilton, Managing Director of FlexiGrid at SMS, said:

“To accommodate this shift to a distributed renewable energy system, flexibility will be required from many different sources, but will increasingly need to come from domestic behind-the-meter ESAs like EV chargers, heat pumps, storage heating, and battery storage. The IDSR Programme is a major step forward in showing how ESA manufacturers can design to a common standard for Demand Response, ultimately delivering the interoperability required to maximise flexibility participation from homes and businesses.”

As part of the project, SMS – which is an approved provider of DFS for the domestic and non-domestic markets – has developed a new version of its FlexiGrid aggregation platform to test ESAs against new IDSR applications. The smart energy infrastructure company is also expanding its existing smart metering test facilities in Bolton, Lancashire, to accommodate the testing of ESAs in mock domestic settings.

Tom Woolley, Smart Product and Strategy Director at SMS, added:

“With the uptake of Energy Smart Appliances, it’s critical that common language and policies exist in the management and operations of these assets. This step change in interoperability and interchangeability needs to come soon, and it won’t be simple for manufacturers. The testing capabilities and facility we have established that combine SMS’s technical and testing prowess in the smart meter industry with our pioneering FlexiGrid aggregation services will play a significant role I this process moving forward.”


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