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Audio Transcript: SPEN Heat Up

The text below is the transcript from the SPEN Heat Up video.

Video Title: SPEN Heat Up

In the UK, low carbon heating alternatives like heat pumps, are growing in number.

Legislation recently passed requires all new houses from 2024 to have low carbon heating, also with government targets to install up to 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, low carbon heating ownership by domestic customers is forecast to rise rapidly over the coming years.

To maintain the high level of service that customers expect from our distribution networks, it is vital that network operators have the tools required to accurately predict both where and when the low voltage network will experience this increase in domestic uptake.

However, it is already clear that market uptake is not following any of the standard technology adoption patterns we have seen in the past, no model is readily available that will help predict the growth of heat pumps, district heating and other forms of low carbon heating solutions.

SP Energy Networks’ innovation project, HEAT Up, has established a layered modelling forecasting platform that improves our understanding of customers’ ability to transition to low carbon forms of heating and the impacts of this.

Presently, the majority of forecast modelling looks only at general adoption trends across geographical areas. Heat up takes a very different approach, using a greater understanding of  households’ ability and desire to transition to low carbon heating.

We expect to see homes that are part of the off-gas grid network to be among the first housing stock to transition to low carbon heating. This will likely followed by sharp uptake in socially and privately-owned housing when more incentives, grants or legislation are introduced. The model helps us understand the network impact of this transition.

Heat Up investigates the probability of each household in the SP Energy Networks regions being able to purchase a low carbon heating alternative, it does this using customer demographics , including income and behaviours as well as the current legislative environment to predict the expected household heat demand usage and the resulting network demand.

The resulting network demand is influenced by the characteristics of the homes in the model including size, number of floors, insulation quality and hybrid switch over temperature. The model has detailed information on each of these parameters to make it as accurate as possible. The aggregated load from the individual properties demonstrates the expected increase in demand from heat over time.

This general increase in demand over time, can be characterised as a rising tide. The model will allow us to forecast this tideline, providing the ability to accelerate or decelerate measures required to strengthen the network. Network designers will be able to efficiently plan ahead of need, ensuring the network can meet the increase in demand with the lowest possible impact and cost to the customer.

However, we also anticipate the increase of low carbon heating uptake to come in sudden waves of growth at local levels, rather than a smooth curve. This sudden increase will be driven by high consumption groups adopting low carbon heating very rapidly, perhaps due to a new grant or tax break becoming available.  Predicting the timing of these surges will be much harder. However, using the data generated by Heat Up, we will be able to identify areas where sudden growth is likely to be experienced and implement solutions accordingly.

The tool could be used in different modelling scenarios, incorporating commercial or public heating provisions in future, and allowing a whole systems approach to be developed. There are also clear synergies with the transition to Electric Vehicles , which is why a very similar project called EV-Up has already been completed. Combining the outputs from EV-Up and Heat-Up, which utilise the same platform and a similar methodology, will provide SP Energy Networks a comprehensive view of the major low carbon technology demand from the home of the future.

Heat Up is an important tool for SP Energy Networks to ensure that no community is left behind, as we accelerate on our journey towards a green future and Net Zero. It will play an important role in helping us realise the environmental and economic benefits of building a green economy and creating a better future, quicker for everyone.


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