United Kingdom

United Kingdom


Energy Flexibility: What is it and why is it important?

What’s energy flexibility? 

For an energy system to work, it needs to continuously match supply (how much energy is being generated) to demand (how much energy is being consumed). This is called energy balancing. Energy system flexibility is the system’s ability to adjust supply and demand, so that they always balance. 

The energy system has a certain amount of capacity based on how much energy is being produced by all of the available sources. As you can see in the graph below, demand on the grid is not always constant – there tend to be morning peaks in demand (for example when people wake up, make a cup of coffee, and have a shower), and evening peaks (for example when people arrive home from work, cook dinner, and turn on the tv). There are also times where demand may be much lower (like when most people are sleeping in the middle of the night).  

Why is energy flexibility important? 

Making sure there’s enough energy during busy times becomes more of a challenge with an increasing population size and the electrification of heat and transport. Flexibility means that we don’t need to invest in generating and supplying more energy, we simply distribute the existing capacity in a smarter way, which saves everyone a bit of money.  

What does flexibility have to do with Net Zero?  

Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas that’s produced and the amount that’s removed from the atmosphere. Reaching Net Zero means we add no more greenhouse gas than we remove, so we are in balance.

As we strive to reach Net Zero, we need to increase reliance on renewable energy sources so that we can rely less on fossil fuel generation. Try as we might, we can’t predict exactly when the sun will shine and when the wind will blow. This means flexibility is even more important, so that we can continue to match supply and demand just as well as we can with more predictable energy sources.  

More renewable energy sources is great news for everyone. If you’re on a smart tariff, you may already be familiar with some of the benefits, as you’ll be paying less for your electricity when there is a surplus of energy available, and more for your electricity when there is increased demand on the grid. Flexibility also reduces the need for network reinforcement, which means lower energy bills for everyone, and a cleaner electricity grid.  

What does flexibility have to do with my Ohme charger?  

Our clever chargers can communicate with the grid and adjust energy intake into your electric vehicle according to peaks and lows in electricity demand. This allows for energy balancing, as well as reducing peak demand. We’re taking part in various flexibility projects, with rewards for drivers who take part. Eligibility criteria for each project varies but we’ll be in touch if it looks like you might be eligible, so do keep an eye on your email inbox.