The government will invest heavily in the UK to create better battery designs, reduce the tariffs that discourage people selling their own electricity back to the grid and make smart devices use power more intelligently.
The change in legislation would make it much easier for people to do things that save them money, and mean we can reduce reliance on technologies like gas and nuclear power. Instead, we can use homes across the nation as places to generate and store electricity.
First though, watch this video Tom Scott made about renewable energy, it's super-useful.
We need power generation to have some "system inertia", essentially this is the huge mass of a turbine spinning when there's a dip in demand the tonnes of kinetic energy in huge turbines smooth out kinks in demand. That gives time for the National Grid to increase generation somewhere else on the network. But as Scott suggests in the video, what if you move the system inertia away from a big centralised unit and out to people's homes and businesses.
Therefore, you can have solar panels on the roof and a Tesla Powerwall in the garage. During the day when you're out electricity from your solar charges your Tesla Powerwall. If there's a need for more power, then you can sell electricity from either the panels directly or at night, from the Powerwall. That means that across the nation we would have millions of little energy stores all available to instantly give power back to the grid.
Plans from the government also offer other ideas, and again, Scott mentions these. For example, homes could have a smart hub that stops your freezer pump from running when the national grid is heavily loaded. Any non-essentials could simply not operate during these periods, and run again when demand is lower. Likewise, you might get a rebate if you allow your washing machine to be remotely triggered to suit the power grid.
We laugh at the internet of things, but if devices could understand the power grid, we would be able to smooth things out without the need to turn on another nuclear power station. The National Grid suggests that 30-50% of fluctuations could be smoothed by smart appliances being more careful about when they are consuming power. [via BBC]