Category: Energy Mapping

METER – insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity usage

METER is a national research project to understand what we use electricity for. And anyone can take part.


This study asks thousands of UK households to submit a one day record of their activities. During this day their electricity use is also measured minute by minute.

The combination of activity and electricity data can gives valuable insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity. METER data is intended to help with the development of new approaches to reduce demand at critical times, while avoiding inconvenience for users. METER will test different forms of incentives and interventions to establish an evidence base for load shifting against a statistically robust baseline.

This becomes especially important when trying to make better use of variable renewable sources of electricity. By identifying a load shifting potential of only 1kW (half the power of a washing machine) in 1% of UK households, the national cost saving could easily exceed a quarter of a billion pounds.

The scale of the project is made possible by the innovative use of smart phones.

Here is an example of my (Peter Bates) household’s energy usage on 21/22 September 2016. (Note we do have Solar PV and did not use the washing machine that day). You can clearly see the peak usage during the cooking of the evening meal.


More information on the METER Project and take part in the research.


Get the latest METER Project newsletter Autumn 2016

UK routemap to decarbonising heating: heat pumps and heat networks

Gas is currently the main source of heating in the UK

Heat pumps and heat networks could play a major role in slashing heating emissions from our buildings and factories between now and 2050, according to a new UK Government heat strategy.

The Government set out its vision on how to cut emissions from heating homes, businesses and industry over the coming decades. As well as options for making our buildings and factories more energy efficient, the heat strategy examines different ways low carbon heat could be supplied in the future. It suggests that heat pumps could play a major role in providing low carbon heat for individual buildings, while in some areas, heat networks could be the least costly and most efficient way to connect buildings, communities or industrial sites to greener sources of energy.
The UK Government says it is already starting to make the change to low carbon heat through schemes such as the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and the Renewable Heat Premium Payment, which offers money off renewable kit for householders. However the heat strategy, sets out the scale of the challenge and a framework for addressing it. It also poses questions on how best to move forward.
Full Article in Greenwise.

English National Heat Map Launched

The National Heat Map was commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and created by The Centre for Sustainable Energy. The purpose of the Map is to support planning and deployment of local low-carbon energy projects in England. It aims to achieve this by providing publicly accessible high-resolution web-based maps of heat demand by area.

The heat map in split-screen mode, showing total heat demand in Hereford (the 'hotspot' is a public swimming pool)

The heat map is primarily intended to help identify locations where heat distribution is most likely to be beneficial and economic. It is important to note that it should be used as a tool for prioritising locations for more detailed investigation – and not as a tool for designing heat networks directly or for querying energy bills.

Residential heat demand over South Manchester. Note the absence of data for the industrial estate in the centre of the image

With the exception of public buildings, the heat map was produced entirely without access to the meter readings or energy bills of individual premises. As a result it contains no personal information whatsoever. This means that once a location has been established as having potential, it will always be necessary to obtain directly metered data on the relevant sites. With the exception of public buildings, the maps are based on data that has been modelled down to an individual address level, but none of the information used in any way constitutes personal data.

Commercial and government heat demand in Portsmouth

This approach to modelling allows aggregation of results upwards without losing accuracy, whilst preserving the ability to drill down to finer scales at chosen locations. At high map zoom levels the outputs are at sufficiently fine scales to allow users to identify individual buildings and groups of buildings which could benefit from heat distribution installations, taking account of the relative accuracy of modelled data.

Individual features like CHP plants and thermal power stations can be identified. Here, the CHP station at Boots' HQ in Beeston, Nottingham is flagged

The National Heat Map is a free and publicly accessible resource providing high-resolution maps of heat demand across England.

It aims to help local authorities, community groups and other users identify locations where heat distribution projects are most likely to make a difference – by cutting carbon emissions and reducing heating costs.

The heat map is based on modelled estimates of annual heat demand at every address in England, and is extremely detailed as a result.

This detail allows users to investigate energy use patterns at the level of individual buildings and streets: exactly what’s needed to support the development of local, low-carbon decentralised energy projects across the country.

Once a potential opportunity has been identified using the heat map, the next step is to approach local stakeholders to develop interest in the project, and to obtain directly metered heat demand data for use in a feasibility study.

About the National Heat Map – DECC

Launch of National Heat Map – CSE

Other articles:-

DECC Blog – Putting Low Carbon Heating on the map