Up to 540GWh of energy generated by wind could be used by domestic heating across off-gas grid Scotland in 2030.

This was the headline finding of the 4D heat project led by SSEN and National Grid ESO, examining whether flexible demand from electric heat could be matched to when wind farms are generating excess energy.

It found that 17% of curtailed wind could be used by electric heating systems in 2020 and 9% in 2030, with the potential to save £24 million a year in constraint payments and a further £2 million a year in environmental and social benefits.

The project analysed an off-gas grid area in Skye, extrapolating the findings to off-gas grid Scotland. The research, modelling and analysis for this was carried out by Delta-EE, Everoze and PassivSystems, with the project funded by the Network Innovation Allowance.

As a result, the project has issued three recommendations on the roles for SSEN and the ESO to support the decarbonisation of heat, including continuing DSO reform by improving accessibility to data to give flexibility providers long-term visibility of the location of future network needs.

A market enabling role should be adopted for innovation, with the example given of promoting innovation in the energy supply market through measures such as dynamic time of use tariffs and encouraging the wind industry to explore new market mechanisms to include residential flexibility.

Lastly, the duo should support the evidence base for smart domestic controls.

Cian McLeavey-Reville, innovation strategy manager at National Grid ESO, said that it is “essential” the ESO takes a whole system approach to “solving the challenges that this transition presents”.

“4D heat is a prime example of this way of thinking – we are tackling the huge challenge of how to decarbonise heat, while also addressing the significant issue of wind curtailment, and considering constraints at both transmission and distribution level.”