What is the Living Grid?
We’re a community of pioneering organisations forming a new energy system that takes inspiration from nature to deliver, store and use electricity.
We exist to spark a change in the design of our electricity grid to make it more efficient, resilient and perfectly adapted for renewable energy, using demand-side management.
To do this, we’re adopting new technologies that allow us control our energy demand, demonstrating how well a nature-inspired approach can work to improve the performance of our legacy energy infrastructure.
What we are doing
We want to catalyse a new approach to our energy system, one that is inspired by natural ecosystems: interactive, self-balancing and adaptive, rather than linear, centralised and clumsy.
We believe that demand-side management has a vital part to play in making our electricity system more efficient and secure, but it’s held back by a lack of belief about the scale it can operate at. So, we aim to unlock the potential of demand-side management by demonstrating what is possible and communicating this to build excitement and confidence in a new approach.
We have convened a partnership with Open Energi, Aggregate Industries, Sainsbury’s, Tarmac and United Utilities to pioneer the use of ground-breaking technology within different industries to manage energy demand in a radically different way.
By 2020, our goal is to establish a network of 20 organisations who are using 200MW of electricity in a flexible and interactive way as part of a self-balancing energy ecosystem. This will immediately create carbon savings and unlock more still by bringing a compelling future within reach.
How it works
Today, energy consumers operate in isolation without communicating with each other or the system around them. This causes their energy demands to overlap unnecessarily, causing high peaks and troughs of demand. The first phase of growing the Living Grid is focused on enabling corporate energy users to communicate and interact, adjusting their individual use of electricity, in a way that makes sense to their business, to benefit the system as a whole.
Corporate energy users are connecting their equipment with intelligent demand response technology. Powered by founding tech partner Open Energi, this allows equipment to continuously adjust its electricity usage, without affecting performance. This creates a self-balancing network that enables organisations to play an active and dynamic role in optimising electricity use and supply across the energy ecosystem.
By choosing to play an active role in balancing supply and demand through consuming electricity flexibly, pioneers of the Living Grid are rewarded by the National Grid with an additional revenue stream that they could plough back into making their business more energy efficient. By scaling down consumption at peak periods, they also avoid peak-time pricing, thus reducing their energy bills in the long term.
Aggregate Industries, Sainsbury’s, Tarmac and United Utilities have all piloted this ground-breaking technology with Open Energi, and will continue to roll it out across their operations nationally. And this is just the start, we’re searching for other tech providers and corporates who
By pioneering the Living Grid, organisations are working together, and calling for others, to create an electricity network that takes inspiration from nature to deliver, store and use electricity in the most optimal way possible. This will make our system more compatible with the abundant renewable sources of energy around us. As we welcome more pioneering organisations and tech partners to the community, we will join forces to grow the Living Grid.