Smart thermal storage could cut bills and increase use of renewables


Ian Marchant,
Chief Executive,
Reading, U.K., Dublin, Ireland and Arnhem, The Netherlands — (METERING.COM) — March 4, 2013 – A new smart electric thermal storage (SETS) system offering electric heating customers efficiency savings of up to 20 percent could play a key role in Europe’s transition to a smarter, low carbon energy system, by storing up renewable energy when demand is low and supply is high, according to a new study from DNV Kema.

Commissioned by U.K. energy supplier SSE and appliance manufacturer Dimplex, the report looked at the potential impact of the new SETS technology, brought to market by the two companies through their new Quantum storage heater.

The study found that, as well as providing significant comfort and cost benefits to those using storage heating, SETS could provide as much as 54 GW of additional flexible storage capacity across Europe by 2050, enabling renewable electricity to be stored up when output is high and used to heat homes and water when needed.

SETS is mainly intended to replace traditional night storage heaters, but could be installed by any electric heating user. Old night storage heaters store up energy overnight for use during the day, but are generally inefficient and provide limited control over how and when a room is heated. The new Quantum product, which is up to 20 percent more efficient, offers better control over room temperature, and has inbuilt controls designed for smart grid integration.

“No matter what the energy supply mix looks like in the future, it is clear that there will be more renewables on the system, which means it will be crucial to find new ways to balance the variability of supply in a smarter electricity grid,” said Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE. “This report shows that smart electric thermal storage has huge potential to help in this area, as well as saving people money and giving them much better control over their heating.”

According to the report, SETS could provide 54 GW of controllable demand by 2050 if the EU-27 countries replaced all the current installed base of night storage heaters. This could be increased to 148 GW if all electrically heated homes switch to SETS.

In the U.K. SETS has potential to create 13 GW of storage capacity by 2050. This is equivalent to 12 percent of the country’s current total installed capacity and could help the U.K. harness output from its renewable energy sources more effectively.