Our homes are becoming smarter and ever more connected, through technology from a wide range of innovative vendors. The new level of data and control created by technology is likely to lead to a profound change in energy retail. Over time, the possibility of retailing service experiences people value is likely to open up in place of being limited to the retail of units of energy which people simply don’t understand. While this may well happen anyway over time, it is unlikely to happen naturally at sufficient pace to establish the conditions to decarbonise heat; specifically, having the means to design, target and deliver near-zero carbon solutions people want to buy. Commercial, policy and regulatory opportunities need to converge, which will take time as the possibilities are alien compared to the traditional concept of ‘utilities’.
The ETI commissioned its Home Energy Management Systems project from the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) as part of its Smart Systems and Heat programme to understand how our homes might be in the 2020s; to explore opportunities for a profound change in energy retail provision and how it might open new possibilities for the decarbonisation of domestic heat.