National Physical Laboratory

New Challenge Prize set to tackle UK's power struggle

The Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is partnering with Nesta and National Grid to find innovations that shift electricity usage to off-peak times.

Dynamic Demand Challenge

With ever increasing demands on the UK's power grid, highlighted by the recent Ofgem report on tightening electricity margins, it is important to find new ways to manage electricity demand. The Dynamic Demand Challenge Prize, run by Nesta's Centre for Challenge Prizes, aims to find new ways of shifting electricity use to off-peak times, reducing carbon emissions and better responding to demands on UK energy supplies.

Dynamic demand, or demand side response (DSR) is the exchange of information between electronic devices, responding to signals from the grid directly or indirectly. The Challenge aims to find new data-driven, demand side response-enabled products, technologies or services.  Incentives, financial support and expert guidance will be available for innovations that are shortlisted on the ‘hack day’ to be held later this year. A prize of £50,000 will be awarded for the solution that demonstrates the most significant impact over the course of the challenge.

The Dynamic Demand Challenge Prize is looking for solutions that show:

  • Innovation: new or improved products, technologies or services
  • A shift in demand: a demonstrable shift in demand to off peak times and/or towards renewable energy generation
  • Sustainability and scale: potential for scale and with market potential

Jane Burston, Head of the Centre for Carbon Measurement at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), said:

"Climate change and a secure, clean energy supply are two of the biggest challenges of our time. Demand side response is a critical step in supporting the shift in supply towards renewable generation. This will only be successful with engaging tools and technologies we want to use in our homes and offices. This Challenge Prize is a great way to incentivise and catalyse innovation and raise awareness of the potential of demand side response to the public."

Constance Agyeman, at Nesta's Centre for Challenge Prizes, said:

"The Dynamic Demand Challenge Prize will support innovations that create a measureable shift in energy use. This is important because the UK's electricity system is under pressure and we need to find new ways to manage demand. But to do this we first need to know what works, whether helpful data can be accessed and what solutions will have the most impact."

The Challenge Prize is co-funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Nesta. National Grid is the lead Prize Sponsor.

Neil Hughes, Head of Technology at National Grid, said:

"We are delighted to support the Nesta Dynamic Demand Challenge which will hopefully inspire some new innovative solutions for the growing market of demand management. Balancing the grid will become more complex as more renewable generation comes onto the system and our goal is to help new service providers understand those challenges and develop technologies to meet that growing need."

The challenge is open to entries from anyone across the European Union, but the solution must be applied within a UK context. The deadline for entries is 9 September 2013.

Full details can be found on the Dynamic Demand Challenge website

Read a report about Dynamic Demand prepared by NPL and Nesta

Find out more about the Centre for Carbon Measurement at NPL

For further details, please contact Marieke Beckmann

Last Updated: 1 Jul 2013
Created: 1 Jul 2013

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