A grid carbon intensity tracking tariff

Hello Bulb!

I recently joined as private customer; very happy with service so far! Thanks.

From a work perspective (I’m an engineer at Arup working on building systems), I would like to set up a trial with a utility using the National Grid Carbon Intensity Predictor API.

I imagine a tariff that fluctuates on the half hour aligned with the National Grid reported emissions. The building control system would then adjust power consumption to follow the National Grid 48 look ahead prediction. New website and API published Sept 2017 http://carbonintensity.org.uk/

Are flexible tariffs in Bulb’s pipeline? With the right client and contract would Bulb consider doing an early trial in 2018?

Interested in what others from the community think of this? Anyone like to see their workplace adjust power consumption to match the grid carbon intensity.

From a renewable energy perspective I think this supports the 100% renewables status Bulb already has:


“All tariffs are 100% renewable; Bulb only buys renewable electricity on the wholesale market 3 months in advance to get the best prices; the ‘new carbon intensity tracker’ is also 100% renewable; the tracking feature supports better grid management which helps everyone on the grid get to 100% renewables faster”



Thanks for getting in touch.

The trial sounds interesting, I do not entirely see the benefit for a 100% renewable tariff as the carbon intensity would always say 0%

I think we’d have to be clear on the benefit to our members if we did participate in the trial too.

Another thing is that we won’t be installing smart meters until the middle of 2018 so we’d not be able to run a trial until we have a strong sample size of smart meter data.


I do not entirely see the benefit for a 100% renewable tariff as the carbon intensity would always say 0%
I think what @Mtrousdell is referring to is the grid renewable proportion. When we have more renewable generation taking place (it's super windy or sunny), it's better to increase demand at that time for things like car charging than use more power when it's a cloudy windless day. As much as Bulb's customers (in theory) have a zero carbon intensity over their month of usage, they're still contributing to the demand for non-renewables at peak times as we can't fire up another few wind turbines when everyone switches the electric shower on in the morning.

The integration with building control systems would be tricky (and expensive) to do for residential customers so I could only really see it working for a limited selection of commercial customers in the short to medium term.

@mowcius I see what you mean now. It’s a little more complicated from our position as we purchase wholesale energy with a renewable certification and we also purchased for every HH period in advance.

The tracker may be useful if you could trace the origin of the HH electricity period purchased by each energy supplier, which may not be out of the question in the future.

But as you say, this seems like a use for larger buildings rather than domestic.

@Mtrousdell how did I miss this discussion of yours? Great to have you on the Community. @“TomT at Bulb” – this is the engineer from Arup who I was talking to you about.

@Mtrousdell – have you seen the carbon intensity bot that @“TomT at Bulb” and the new Bulb Labs team have been working on? https://twitter.com/bulbcarbonbot

@Mtrousdell hello! We’re certainly interested in understanding more about flexible tariffs and the benefits they might offer. We’re starting to explore how people understand grid carbon intensity, and whether we could offer tools to help people make greener decisions as a precursor to potentially offering alternative tariffs.

As part of this, we’ve got a small Twitter bot running (which @“Andrew at Bulb” linked to above), which we’ll draw more people’s attention to soon. We’ve also been playing around with an Alexa skill so you can quickly ask when to delay your washing machine or dishwasher for, while you’re loading it up. All being well, we’ll share that very soon.