App reveals real-time electricity generation mix

App reveals real-time electricity generation mix
Image courtesy of The Carbon Trust

With the launch of the Carbon Tracer App, households across the Western Power Distribution (WPD) region can find out exactly what mixture of energy technologies are supplying electricity into their homes.

Developed by WPD in collaboration with the Carbon Trust, working alongside digital agency Enigma Interactive, the app is the first to reveal real time information to consumers on their local energy generation mix and the amount of CO2 produced as a result, also known as its ‘carbon intensity’.

The WPD network, which operates across the East and West Midlands, South Wales and the South West, has seen an increasing amount of low carbon generation being connected to the network over recent years.

By using the new app, electricity customers will now be able to see real time data on how the energy delivered to their local area is being generated, taking into account how much energy is coming from nearby solar panels and wind turbines in current weather conditions.

In addition to renewables, the app also reveals what proportion of electricity is being provided through nuclear energy, fossil fuels, or other energy sources such as municipal waste incineration.

Having access to this information will allow individuals to make informed decisions about the best times to schedule their energy-consuming tasks – such as using the washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher or water heater – if they want to help make a difference to climate change.

To support this decision making, the app provides both live information and a seven-day forecast, helpfully colour-coding different times of day as green, amber and red depending on how carbon intensive electricity is expected to be at that time.

Manu Ravishankar, Innovation Manager at the Carbon Trust said: “The future of energy is built on a foundation of data.

“As we move towards an energy system that is based on more flexible, low carbon energy it is important to understand how consumers will interact with the rich stream of information that will be available.

“This innovative app is a step towards helping to deepen our understanding of what level of data consumers will be willing to engage with, in particular around more technical information on carbon intensity.”