Frequently Asked Questions
Don't be left behind, get involved in the upcoming energy transition.
Our electricity industry and market is in the middle of a major transition as we respond to the unfolding climate crisis.
- It has become more decentralised with many small renewable energy generators, rather than fewer large fossil fuel powered ones.
- Growing electricity demand from appliances will be further increased by electric heating and electric vehicle charging.
- Installation of renewable energy needs to accelerate to meet carbon reduction targets.
- It is getting harder to balance energy supply and demand, especially at peak times, as decentralised renewable generation is a lot harder to control.
- Intermittency concerns with renewables can be overcome with electricity storage facilities, such as domestic and commercial batteries.
- However, costly upgrades to the electricity network will be required with greater environmental and resource impact, as well as financial consequences for consumers, if demand is not managed effectively.
- We need to consider when we use electricity, as well as how much we use, to minimise carbon emissions and expensive and resource intensive manufacture and installation of new technology.
- Ultimately, a big factor will be how far we, as households and organisations, can change the way we use energy and what the best ways of achieving this are (e.g. smart technology, pricing mechanisms, promotional campaigns).
Flex Community is a cloud based, smart software platform that manages energy at a building and inter-building level. It has been developed in Spain by Stemy Energy with initial funding coming from COMILLAS university in Spain and MIT in the USA. It has been widely tested with involvement from the Spanish Government and a number of key Spanish utilities.
- Flex Community monitors and learns about customer energy behaviour and building energy performance.
- Flex Community predicts weather patterns and provides home automation and temperature control to ensure customer comfort levels whilst also maximising the potential of renewables to reduce CO2 emissions.
- Householders have freedom to let the system operate without their input, within the pre-set conditions, or to take control of their energy use through a mobile app.
- Flex Community will facilitate participation in flexibility markets to provide demand response services when required.
- Flex Community will provide feedback to householders with information on how participation in flexibility markets has reduced carbon emissions.
The software platform maximises the home’s energy efficiency whilst streamlining the energy flexibility of the grid. It is, in effect, a private energy broker for householders and a collective control and management tool for utilities.
Flexibility markets are created by electricity network operators prepared to pay for the ability to turn up or down electricity generation or consumption in order to balance supply and demand.
To date the energy industry has typically provided flexibility around supply e.g. through power stations changing how much they produce or installing enough cables to make sure electricity can always be transported to consumers.
The industry has also worked with large industrial and commercial consumers to manage demand but this will need to be expanded. In our changing energy system with far more small-scale generation that cannot be easily controlled centrally, we will increasingly need to see demand flexibility at a much smaller scale, down to individual households.
If we can bring together multiple households, each able to provide small amounts of flexibility, it is possible to offer flexibility across the whole community at a level that can be provided to electricity network operators in return for income or discounts.
Domestic flexibility can be provided by installing smart technology that makes it easier for households to be flexible in the times that they use electricity during the day.
Energy demand management is the quickest, most effective tool to balance demand and supply in the grid today. Its relevance to the sustainability of the energy system will therefore only increase over time.
As well as reducing your climate impact, involvement in the Flex Community will mean that you will be helping us shape approaches to carbon reduction that will become the norm over the next 5 years.
- As we continue to electrify our energy use we will see Time of Use Tariffs become the norm, charging different rates for electricity use at different times of day. We will pay more for our electricity during peak times, so by shifting electricity use away from times of high demand, we can reduce fuel bills. Involvement in the Flex Community will prepare you for a way of using electricity that will soon become standard for all. Involvement in the Flex Community will certainly not increase your fuel bills in any way.
- As trading within flexibility markets develops, you will be able to earn income from changing when you use electricity, depending on how much, how quickly and how long you can shift your electricity use. See ‘What are flexibility markets’ above.
- As a user, you will be able to include hot water immersion heaters, solar panels, heat pumps and car charging, providing a service that will enable users to identify what new technology they might need to install , how much it will cost, what they will save and what impact it would have on energy demand.
So, your input could be crucial to the next phase of the energy transition, as we look to accommodate the massive increase in renewable electricity that we must have to decarbonise our electricity system. Getting involved now will help us shape the future.
To be a member of Flex Community, you must have an industrial process that can be stopped at least for 15 minutes.
The Flex Community software platform will respond to flexibility requests from the operator of the local electricity network, in our case Western Power Distribution, when they need electricity demand turned up or down to help balance grid operation.
Stemy Energy was created with the mission to reduce the energy bill of end-users, reduce their carbon footprint, and promote a more sustainable energy system, using learning tools to participate in the ancillary services market in real time whilst managing the demand simultaneously.
Stemy Energy was founded by Alvaro, Jaime, Francisco, Miguel, Antonio and Carlos, experts with 20 years of experience working in high performance intelligence in the electricity sector. It was born from a project called SPLODER, which evolved into a commercial product as it proved successful. Stemy has worked with Spanish utilities, and has a working platform with homes all over Spain. Now, Stemy is creating new products adapted to the UK electric market and user experience.