Energy networks are undergoing radical changes due to the electrification of heat and transport, increasing levels of distributed generation and battery storage, and a more active role of consumers in the energy system. This transition is driving fundamental changes in the requirements from electricity and gas networks as well as the approaches used to manage and plan for the future of these networks.
Element Energy’s Networks Team is at the forefront of this changing energy landscape. We work with a range of clients including distribution network operators (DNOs), energy suppliers, system operators, regulators, policy makers and other key stakeholders. We help our clients forecast the changing loads across energy networks, the resulting impacts, and how these loads can be managed. This is particularly valuable for electricity DNOs as they transition to DSOs (distribution system operators). In addition, we help our clients to understand emerging trends such as uptake of energy storage and demand side response and the impacts and opportunities for their business, and our expertise in consumer behaviour enables us to develop innovative approaches to consumer engagement and energy management for our clients.
Key skills and expertise
Understanding of consumer behaviour and policy impacts: Through our work with government and industry we have developed robust customer archetyping methods (informed by demographic factors, building characteristics, etc.) as well as consumer choice and willingness to pay models which enable us to accurately model consumer behaviour and the uptake of emerging technologies (such as electric vehicles, solar PV, wind, heat pumps, CHP and energy storage). We are also able to accurately model changes in customer behaviour, appliance ownership and adoption of energy efficiency measures; this work has been used to provide advice and modelling for government on policy and incentive design.
Understanding of emerging technologies and innovation: We have worked alongside various stakeholders in the energy industry to help them understand the impact of low-carbon technology adoption, as well as identifying the potential for new flexibility-based network solutions such as demand-side response and active network management, and the commercial arrangements involved. We have used this understanding to develop innovative new tools to improve energy network planning, customer engagement with energy efficiency and demand side response incentives.
Forecasting changes in energy demand, supply and network flexibility: We combine the skills outlined above with our understanding of energy networks, large network datasets and other related data series and techniques (e.g. we use Met Office data and multivariate linear regression analysis to accurately correct for the influence of weather and climate change) to provide detailed network load forecasts disaggregated to very high levels of geographic and network asset resolution. These tools enable our clients to understand how low-carbon technologies and government policies will impact their businesses and how these learnings can most appropriately feed into their business planning and operations.
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