In a recent blog (Can we be Transparent on District and Communal Heat Network Data?) there is a call to ensure data is in high definition. To make”innovative projects truly successful there is a requirement for as much data, information and experiences as possible. The data provided to academics, policy planners, system designers, manufacturers and operators allows for solutions to meet the needs of all stakeholders, offering the best in environmental and cost benefits.
This is hard to argue with – lots of stakeholders might want to see this data (such as academics, policy planners, system designers, manufacturers and operators) but if you really want to extract and harvest data about the system, user behaviour and the interaction between the two you really need to give the end user some benefit. My view is that heat networks have the potential to be much more flexible in their offer to customers. In a previous blog I wrote that modern networks should offer choice and product differentiation, offered through multiple heat providers inputting to a singular (independent possibly) network over which consumers buy their heat. Products could be differentiated by temperature (return temperatures are lower than those temperatures leaving central plant), carbon intensity (fuels of varying intensities of heat can command different prices and values shaped by carbon markets and carbon targets).
With real time monitoring and offers you can, potentially, encourage customers to turn down their heating, or indeed encourage them to take more as a mechanism to balance heat loads. You could share local performance at the home level or at the network level to achieve this.
To conclude this short blog, it’s hard to disagree with Sycous Limited in their call for better data, but it has to reap reward for the end user as much as any operator, academic or planner.