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POWBAL is an initiative by ECCLAB to create a virtual power plant. This is will help to make renewable energy cheaper.

A drawback of many renewable power sources is intermittency: the wind might drop unexpectedly lowering the power output from windfarms. To function reliably renewable power often needs a non-renewable backup. This is costly and polluting. However, the need for such back up reduces if power demand can be adjusted in accordance with availability of renewable supply. Some of that can in theory be achieved by shifting non-essential power demand over time; e.g. washing your laundry an hour later, interrupting the charging of your laptop or car, temporarily switching off your fridge or air-con.

While this can make a big difference in theory (e.g. all fridges in the UK alone require on average the power of a nuclear power plant) a big unknown concerns energy consumers willingness and ability to participate in this. With the POWBAL project we aim to find out by doing a series of randomized control trials among various groups of energy customers.

This involves offering consumers a free remote control power plug adapter (wifiplug). In exchange for using this adapter consumers receive various incentives (e.g. Amazon vouchers). At various points in time we switch off the power plug remotely to simulate what would need to happen when balancing the electricity grid overall in a scaled up version of such an experiment.

We have several pilots underway in different settings: - Woodlane Studios, a spanking new student residence with more than 500 studio flats in the West of London. - Poplar Harca, a social housing association with more than 1,000 properties in East London. - Dartford Council, a housing association with more than 3,000 properties in Dartford. - Imperial College Business School, pilots in real work environments with hundreds of employees in South-West London.

Connect with us at twitter, facebook and powbal(at)imperial.ac.uk!

Powbal (under the title SeMIoT) is funded by the PETRAS IoT hub. The PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub is a consortium of nine leading UK universities which will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security. Funding for the Hub includes a 9.8 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) which will be boosted by partner contributions to approximately 23 million in total. This project also runs in collaboration with IoTUK.

The PETRAS IoT Hub, is led by UCL and includes Imperial College London, Lancaster University, University of Oxford, University of Warwick, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Southampton, and University of Surrey.

More info here: https://www.petrashub.org

ProjectForm edit

title Power Balance
summary Can we shift home energy demand to help balance electricity grids?
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
powbal-logo.pngpng powbal-logo.png manage 425.0 K 14 Sep 2018 - 07:50 RalfMartin  
Topic revision: r12 - 14 Sep 2018, RalfMartin
 

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