Sadly, this isn’t going to work, is it?

National Grid will be able to tell people the cheapest time to turn on a washing machine up to two days in advance.

New software, developed with conservation charity WWF, breaks the day down into two-hour segments, warning users when energy is at peak demand and informing them when demand is low.

It combines historical data from the grid with weather information from the Met Office to predict times of high and low demand.

The National Grid said it expected energy companies to use the information to produce their own apps encouraging customers to use energy when demand was at its lowest and turn appliances off when there was pressure on the system.

Because it is the balance of supply and demand which matters. And we can’t forecast wind and solar 48 hours ahead…..

33 thoughts on “Sadly, this isn’t going to work, is it?”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    To a first order approximation 48 hour wind forecasts are quite accurate and getting better.

    Whether the average person is organised enough to take advantage is a different matter.

  2. Presumably there’ll be some price incentive to move consumption into those low demand periods?
    So how about some new software to do this trick with other commodities. Say share prices or coffee contracts.
    I’d really like to get my hands on software like that.

  3. Surely the cheapest time for consumers isn’t necessarily the same as the same as the cheapest time for wholesale prices. Do electricity pass wholesale price variations directly through to their customers?


  4. The National Grid said it expected energy companies to use the information to produce their own apps encouraging customers to use energy when demand was at its lowest and turn appliances off when there was pressure on the system.”

    Sorry kids, no hot dinner for you tonight, the wind’s died down and the oven’s going to cost a fortune to run at 6PM…

  5. Great so the epitome of civilised life, energy supply, moves from being demand led to supply led. We can only use it when they say, not when we want.

    Just another case of socialism in action I suppose.

  6. Alex,

    They could easily implement it.

    The problem is that I doubt it will be worth it for most people. Whats the saving going to be? Enough that working women will quit jobs? No, I doubt that. Which means it’ll be a choice of washing at 6pm or 8pm. Or maybe a saving on weekends.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    One day a political party is going to come up with a simple slogan – when we turn on a power switch, we get power. If it takes nuclear power to do it, we will do it. When we turn on a tap, we get water. Not water restrictions.

    I expect they will sweep the land.

  8. Surely, if the app tells everyone that 02:00 in the morning, two days hence, is the cheapest time, and everyone sets their appliances to come on at that time, low demand will be transformed into high demand.

  9. The National Grid said it expected energy companies to use the information to produce their own apps encouraging customers to use energy when demand was at its lowest

    If everyone is switching their washing machines on when demand is at its lowest, then demand won’t be at its lowest any more.

  10. New software, developed with conservation charity WWF

    Can you imagine the meetings with a bunch of electrical engineers and software developers having to listen to a bunch of hippy conservationists. I bet these meetings happened at board level.

  11. @Diogenes – Stop using free will and report for re-programming… In the new world planning your washing will be about the most exciting thing to do as everything else will be banned.

  12. I can imagine a scenario in which my ‘intelligent’ washing machine communicates with my ‘intelligent’ electric meter and switches on when electric is cheapest. Anyone who thinks such a scenario will happen on a wide scale and without any glitches in the next decade or two is living in la-la land.

    And one of the biggest causes of domestic fires is failure of an unattended washer/dryer.

  13. BiS: are you sure about a price incentive, because I’m not. I suspect that they think we’ll be good little environmentalists and just ‘follow the app’. They do seem to think that in relation to smart meters.

  14. Personally I think all this smart meter stuff is so that they can absolutely stuff you when you try and charge your electric car…having lost all the ‘green’ taxes on evil fossil fuels.

  15. This is a run up to their eco-freak brownout bullshit.

    They are casting it as your choice ( just as leftist sharia running dogs try-out “women -only” carriages as a choice–to start). But they are warming folk up for the end result which is that you will only have enough piddle power to do your washing after midnight on a Sunday. There will be no choice then.

    Don’t have a smart meter. If you don’t they can’t keep their piddle power network going. And they also won’t be able to switch the power off to your house individually if you won’t tow the line on whatever tinpot tyranny they get into next–be it ID cards or microchipping you or whatever.

  16. A fellow on R4 Today explained that it would be economical to run one’s dryer when the weather favoured “green” energy.

    Aim for when it’s sunny with a decent breeze – in fact precisely the kind of day when you hang out the washing rather than using a tumble dryer in the first place.

  17. This is communism disguised as environmentalism.

    DocBud, Tim Newman,

    That kind of behaviour makes me think smart meters + smart appliances, if they ever reach some significant percentage of households, could cause wild swings in demand rather than smooth things out. The government is trying to shape our energy consumption using price signals in real time and to a fine degree and I can only see it getting it badly wrong.

  18. Solid Steve 2: Squirrels of The Patriots

    Mark T – I think all this smart meter stuff is so that they can absolutely stuff you when you try and charge your electric car

    Yarp. In related news, it seems the Tories are desperate to get voted out of office:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/26/revealed-governments-electric-car-revolution-could-cost-200bn/

    I take back every kind word I ever said about Michael Gove. It’s clear to me now that he’s a Pob-faced freak who ought to be torn limb from limb by a mob of angry Top Gear presenters.

  19. Does anyone remember that octopus that forecast football results at one World Cup? The idea of rule by octopus is seeming more and more attractive. You attach policies to a couple of balls and check the ones selected by the cephalopod. It must be better than rule by May Corbyn and co

  20. I’m sure I read a while ago that if you assume that tomorrow’s weather will be just like today’s, you’ll be correct around 50% of the time. This probably means that you can do your laundry every day for the next week, then go without for a month.

  21. I keep thinking when will the Revolution happen, and people fight back against this nonsense. Sadly though a lot of people I speak to just aren’t interested in this stuff. It’s the boiling frog syndrome. It’s only when something is taken from them in one obvious foul swoop, such as Uber, that you get a reaction. This is all theoretical at the moment. When the anger comes it’ll be too late.

  22. Ian – the trouble might be that we get another month-long stationary high in December, no sunshine, no wind, no leccy, temps hovering around 0C. Not a very comforting prospect.

  23. @Dio and Ian,

    Remember- an awful lot of wind capacity is offshore. Forecasts are a lot more accurate over sea.

    It doesn’t solve the baseload issue, but predicting generation from sea-based turbines for the next seven days should be straightforward.

  24. Several bloggers analysed the output of the existing windfarms the last time we had a month-long stationary high over the UK – the offshore turbines were just as static as the onshore ones, IIRC

  25. http://euanmearns.com/peak-demand-and-the-winter-wind/

    According to

    the Met Office – on the coldest nights the wind will pick up again, minimizing the possibility of power shortfalls in the UK during peak demand periods. This post investigates this claim. It finds that the wind did not pick up on the coldest nights at least during the February 2012 cold spell in the UK and that wind generation on any given night during the cold spell was essentially unpredictable

  26. The Left is doing its best to destroy central power generation. An excellent strategy on the path to destruction of Western Civilization. WWF doesn’t love you; they are not trying to help you.

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