If the UK wishes to meet its climate change commitments by 2050, we will need smart and flexible energy systems. However, with the use of fossil fuels reducing and energy demands rising, a system is needed that can ensure a stable supply of clean energy.

The UK government and Ofgem have therefore jointly published the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan and Energy Digitalisation Strategy to fulfil the commitments laid out in the Energy White Paper representing crucial progress towards providing flexibility to the energy grid.

While announcing the new plan Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, stated: “We need to ensure our energy system can cope with the demands of the future. Smart technologies will help us to tackle climate change while making sure that the lights stay on and bills stay low. The possibilities opened by a smart and flexible system are clear to see. They will not only allow households to take control of their energy use and save money but will ensure power is available when and where it’s needed while creating jobs and investment opportunities long into the future.”

The use of these cutting edge systems could result in a drastic reduction of the costs of managing the grid by as much as £10 billion a year by 2050. Additionally, it could create up to 10,000 jobs for system installers, electricians, data scientists and engineers.

The benefits aren’t just limited to the energy sector with a further 14,000 potential jobs possible within the export of these new technologies. Consumer households would also gain a number of benefits from the ability to trade back their excess energy to reduce bills to the knowledge of when they will pay the lowest operating costs for appliances.

Rob Saunders, Challenge Director of Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UK Research and Innovation said: “With opportunities to join up services more easily for customers, do more with existing infrastructure, and open up new digital business models right across the net-zero economy, we envisage the development of a thriving cohort of new digital businesses that help the nation decarbonise while serving customers better.”

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