Equinox trials begin: lowering energy bills and supporting the grid with heat pump flexibility

January, 2023

The first heat pump flexibility trials as part of the Equinox project have begun. Equinox, or Equitable Novel Flexibility Exchange, will explore whether domestic heat pumps can provide flexibility to the electricity grid while reducing energy bills. The trial will test if heat pump owners are willing to reduce the temperature of their homes for short periods of time in order to support the National Grid. This type of flexibility will be really important in the future to support the electrification of heat and the mass rollout of heat pumps.

Equinox will provide valuable insight into consumer behaviour and the potential for incentivising domestic flexibility. The project will last three years and there are plans to sign up over 1,000 participants by the end of 2023. Passiv is participating in the project alongside the National Grid and project partners Octopus Energy, Sero, SP Energy Networks, Welsh Government, West Midlands Combined Authority, National Energy Action, Scottish Power Energy Retail, and Guidehouse.

Passiv will be using its expertise in heat pump control and optimisation to provide modelling and simulations to guide the project trials and the flexibility scenarios that will be tested with consumers. You can find out more about our expertise in data modelling here.

Read more about the Equinox project on the National Grid website here. 

At Passiv, we think heat pumps can play an important role in helping the UK to decarbonise. Moving from gas boilers to heat pumps will mean a big increase in electricity demand, both in terms of the amount of electricity we consume and our demand on the grid at peak times. If this transition is to be successful, it is vital that heat pumps are operated efficiently and flexibly.

The Passiv Smart Energy Platform and heat pump controls make heat pumps connected and smart. Our heat pump controls can lower annual heating bills by up to 35% by improving the performance of a heat pump, increasing efficiency while optimising against time of use tariffs and on-site renewable generation. The Platform increases the Seasonal Coefficient of Performance of a heat pump by 17%, as independently verified by the Energy Saving Trust (EST).

The Passiv heat pump controls can provide flexibility to the electricity grid automatically without impacting on consumers’ comfort. The controls respond to Demand Side Response signals, ‘pre-heating’ a home to maintain comfort while reducing consumption at peak times. The MADE project showed that the Passiv heat pump controls were able to deliver 35-40% reductions in peak loads on the network.

You can find out more about the Passiv Smart Energy Platform and heat pump controls here.