2nd October 2019

Hot water tanks get smart for the future of energy

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Centrica is rolling out a new smart hot water tank to help its customers reduce energy consumption, the company has announced.

The move, through British Gas, aims to help decarbonise heating by enabling customers to have an intelligent hot water system installed as an upgrade.

The energy company has struck a partnership with Mixergy, an Oxford University tech start-up, which offers innovative hot water tanks which are both energy-efficient and cost-effective. The tanks connect to the internet and operate on an Internet of Things (IoT) platform to enable intelligent control over water usage.

The system’s technology has the ability to understand a household’s usage habits so water volumes are personalised to heat exactly what is required. The company claims the system can save more than 10 per cent on hot water bills each year, worth up to £100 per annum, depending on heat source and usage profile.

The partnership with Mixergy, follows the publication of Future Energy Scenarios by National Grid which suggests that more than 23 million homes will need to install new low-carbon heating solutions by 2050.

National Grid has approved plans for Centrica to include thousands of hot water tanks as part of its 2.5GW-strong virtual power plant, combining the units with the flexibility of industrial consumers and battery projects using its software platform FlexPondTM.

Charles Cameron, Centrica’s group director of technology & engineering and chairman of Centrica Innovations, said: “We use our proprietary technology to unlock the power of Mixergy’s tanks in order to provide firm frequency response to the electricity grid.

“The first batch of 100 hot water tanks, which are now in homes in the UK will, at times of stress, be capable of capturing energy at low market prices on sunny or windy days when there is an abundance of renewables on the network, all whilst maintaining efficiency, cost and comfort for our customers.”

Dr Pete Armstrong, from Mixergy, said: “We are very excited to be at the heart of Centrica’s mission to bring about additional flexibility to the energy system whilst delivering customer benefits through the deployment of solutions like the Mixergy tank.

“Together with Centrica, we are paving the way for smart tariffs which will reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by storing excess renewable energy on the grid. At the same time, we reduce bills for householders by only heating the amount of hot water they require.”