A paper from Imperial College proposes a new conceptual framework for understanding competition in electricity markets which include variable input but marginal cost renewables. Noting that one of the primary drivers for consumers to switch from grid-supplied electricity to self-generated electricity (e.g. home roof-top PV with batteries) is cost savings, the researchers constructed a model that forecasts when going-it-alone ‘grid defection’ by consumers may become widespread. In reality, few domestic consumers in the UK are likely to want to go entirely off grid. At least not for some time . Grid links are needed and useful for backup, e.g. for when there has not been enough sunshine for a while and their batteries are discharged, and also to sell any surplus power they can generate, beyond what they can store. However, the grid defection analysis is still a useful conceptual exercise, not least since it gives us some idea of the cost of balancing/backing up variable renewables. And, in time, some users may want to try the off grid option.
Environmental Research Web 11th March 2018 read more »