Wednesday 17th February 2016
What do we actually know about household electricity use?
What we use electricity for has not been of great concern to system operators in the past. With a large fleet of flexible fossil fuel plants it was sufficient to roughly predict demand and then provide as and when needed.
Under this paradigm it makes no difference whether electricity is used to provide a time specific service (like viewing Coronation Street), something that could be postponed (like vacuum cleaning), or something we don’t even know is going on (like the immersion heater starting up). These differences are likely to matter if demand is to be more flexible in a future age of renewables.
In this talk I review some of the assumptions made about the ‘use’ to which electricity is put in homes. I will argue that it is not sufficient to know what the appliances are doing, but that our focus should extend to the activities that are supported by them.
By combining smart-phone based time-use diary approaches with high resolution load profile measurements from thousands of households, I hope to provide new insights into the relationship between activities and electricity use.
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