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The greenest time for a cuppa

New online tool reveals the best time to use home appliances to reduce your carbon footprint and energy bill
When's the greenest time to boil the kettle?

WWF has created a new online tool that points users to the best times to turn on or turn off home appliances to minimise carbon emissions.

Shifting activities like dishwasher cycles or electric vehicle charges could help relieve pressure on the energy system, reduce the need to use back-up fossil fuel plants and potentially reduce bills for households.

Use power when it’s greenest

The tool uses new software from the National Grid that forecasts the carbon intensity of electricity generation up to two days ahead, helping people to understand and control their energy use.

National Grid is working with Environmental Defense Fund Europe and WWF to make the software openly available to the public.

‘How electricity reaches our homes is often out of sight – we just flip the switch and pay our bills. But the changes to our electricity system are opening up more choices for consumers. Green energy forecasting could be a game changer – making the connection between the weather and energy and helping people use electricity when it’s greenest. This is not just good news for reducing the effects of climate change but could also help us cut our home energy bills and it’s vital the UK Government bring in time of use tariffs quickly to maximise these opportunities.’

Head of climate and energy at WWF

The programming software combines National Grid’s deep knowledge of the UK energy system with weather data from the Met Office to forecast the share of renewable and non-renewable energy that will be on the UK electricity grid over the next 48 hours, and the resulting carbon emissions. National Grid’s data has been verified by experts from Oxford University.

Power to the people

This is the first time that carbon intensity data has been modelled to provide an accurate forecast for future carbon intensity. All partners in the project have agreed to make the software, known as an application programming interface (API data) available so that tech developers can create consumer friendly applications.

‘We’re providing our forecast data in a format that allows technology companies to build innovative apps and software that could make a real difference to how and when people use energy. Clear and concise information that can tell you in advance when’s best to turn on the washing machine, load the dishwasher or charge your car for example, is a step in the right direction towards a low carbon future. This technology puts people at the heart of it, helping everyone to use power when it’s greenest, and likely, more cost efficient.’

Director of the system operator at National Grid

Greenest summer ever

The software launch coincides with the release of new data from the National Grid that show we’ve just had the ‘greenest’ summer on record.

From 21 June to 22 September, almost 52% of our electricity generation was met by low carbon sources, compared with around 35% four years ago.

‘It’s been an exciting year managing the many ‘network firsts’ – from a day where we operated the system with zero coal power, to one where over half of Great Britain’s energy demand was met by renewable generation – and we’re just as excited to see what developments come off the back of making this data available for all.’

Director of the system operator at National Grid

If you want to make a green cup of tea, click here to check the forecast and find the greenest time of day to put the kettle on.

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