ESB and GreenCom Networks partner to demonstrate heat pump demand response capability

  • Ireland’s Climate Action Plan aims to roll out 600,000 heat pumps in residential buildings by 2030
  • Proof of concept shows promising results for connecting and controlling heat pumps to respond to market prices and CO2 emissions
  • Project was able to maintain customer comfort levels, while potentially saving 15% for end-users by leveraging a time of use tariff
  • Optimisation controls were based on CO2 reduction, market price signals and time of use tariffs

Dublin, Munich, 20.05.2021. ESB, Ireland’s leading energy utility, has partnered with GreenCom Networks (“GreenCom”), a leading European home energy management provider, to demonstrate the demand flexibility of heat pumps in Irish homes. The one-year proof of concept study aimed to show that heat pump operational flexibility can be successfully facilitated by an IoT platform. The concept study managed to lower the carbon intensity of heating/hot water usage and to offer demand response capacity to the grid while maintaining comfort levels and reducing electricity costs for homeowners.

The study commenced in January 2020, with results confirming that the carbon intensity of heat pump demand can be lowered by shifting usage to times of high renewable electricity generation. It is also possible to shift usage in response to electricity market signals thereby alleviating the impact they could have on the grid. Furthermore, by concentrating usage at low price hours of a time of use tariff, the heating costs for a customer could be lowered by more than 15%, without impacting on their comfort levels.

As part of the study, participating homeowners with Mitsubishi Electric Ecodan heat pumps in their homes were connected to GreenCom’s energy IoT platform. Automatic remote control for all heat pumps was set up and by running GreenCom’s optimisation algorithms, each heat pump was configured to either reduce CO2 emissions, react to market price signals or to a time of use tariff.

This way, the optimisation could benefit all involved: carbon emissions reduction helps with Ireland’s decarbonisation ambitions, optimising by energy market price signals allows for demand response use cases and optimising by end customer energy tariff lowers costs for the homeowner.

Brian Montayne, eHeat manager at ESB, says: “The electrification of the residential heating sector is a key component of Ireland’s Climate Action Plan. Using clean, low-carbon electricity to heat our homes is critical to this transition, which ESB fully supports. We are delighted to have partnered with GreenCom Networks on this study as it has showcased the opportunities and benefits that can arise from using IoT and heat pump technology for customers, the environment and grid operations.”

As part of its Climate Action Plan, Ireland aims to roll out 600,000 heat pumps in residential buildings, 400,000 of them in existing buildings. This, in turn, would result in almost a third of Ireland’s 1.7 million households receiving their warmth from heat pumps in 2030. Adding to this, the plan aims to increase the electricity generated from renewable sources to 70% by 2030, making the balancing of variable solar and wind energy assets a necessity.

Christian Feisst, GreenCom CEO, adds: “In less than ten years from now, Ireland plans to go from around 50,000 installed heat pumps to 600,000. To make this ambitious deployment successful, we need to integrate the heat pump flexibility potential seamlessly. With our proof of concept, we have shown that automatic, algorithm-controlled running of heat pumps to the benefit of all involved stakeholders, the government, the utility, the end customer, is possible.”
Ends

About ESB: ESB is Ireland’s leading energy utility with operations spanning electricity generation, transmission and distribution and energy supply. Operating through a portfolio of brands comprising ESB Networks, Electric Ireland, ESB International and NIE Networks, ESB is working to create a brighter future for all by taking action and leadership in the transition to a low carbon future powered by electricity. This includes replacing carbon intensive generation with renewable and low carbon alternatives, creating smarter, more efficient networks, building a national EV charging infrastructure and developing new products and services to enable customers manage their energy use more efficiently. For more information see: esb.ie

About GreenCom Networks: GreenCom Networks is a leading energy IoT company, with offices in Munich, Germany, and Sophia-Antipolis, France. Since 2011, GreenCom has been developing the energy system of the future. Using its Energy Information Brokerage Platform (eibp), GreenCom integrates distributed assets like solar PV, battery storage, electric vehicles, and heat pumps. Based on its eibp, GreenCom enables white-label end customers services like energy communities and energy flat rates. GreenCom also offers optimisation and visualisation of energy flows in homes, to utilities and manufacturers of energy-relevant devices. For more information see: greencom-networks.com

About Ecodan heat pumps: Mitsubishi Electric has been manufacturing Ecodan air source heat pumps in Scotland for over a decade and has developed a European R&D centre at the Livingston site. Market-leading Ecodan is suitable for new-build and retrofit, in both residential and commercial premises. Further information can be found at ecodan.co.uk