Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has announced today four projects to demonstrate the viability of smart energy systems across the UK. The projects are part of the £102.5 million Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge that will develop local systems that deliver cleaner, cheaper and more resilient energy.
These demonstrators will show how businesses can develop local energy approaches at scale that will create better outcomes for consumers and promote economic growth for the UK. By the early 2020s, these demonstrators aim to prove that smarter local energy systems can deliver cleaner and cheaper energy services.
The chosen projects are:
- Local Energy Oxfordshire aims to demonstrate a competitive local energy marketplace using new intelligence in the local networks and operated by a range of competing market players and suppliers. Low carbon projects around the area will plug into this local marketplace to enable optimal use of local resources, balancing supply and demand across power, heat and transport and smoothing load on the network through peer to peer trading.
- Superhub Oxford takes a different approach and aims to show how stress can be removed from local networks by tapping into the national grid system to provide fast charging for vehicle fleets, electrical heating to local properties, and using artificial intelligence (AI) based grid response services via a novel flow battery deployment to generate revenue to help drive an investable business model.
- ReFLEX Orkney is proving how a system that has too much renewables output (currently 1.3x demand) can be optimised locally to make the most of that resource, a set of circumstances that other parts of the world are very likely to face in the future as the cost of renewables plummets. An AI-based virtual energy system platform will be installed that optimises supply and demand across heat, power and mobility by micro-trading of the flexibility available in heat pumps, heat storage, batteries, electric vehicle charging and hydrogen production for ferries and buses across the Orkneys.
- Smart Hub SLES based in West Sussex uses a virtual power plant approach to optimise heat networks, solar & storage assets, and both electric and hydrogen-fuelled transport. High levels of innovation include new hybrid heat networks at municipal scale for the first time and new power electronics to improve the resilience of the local grid to overloading.
Teodora Kaneva, Programme Manager Smart Energy and Utilities, techUK:
“We are really happy to see the announcement made today, and it’s extremely welcomed in the current interchanging energy system. techUK supports projects which provide a great opportunity for the smart local energy systems using digital and data-base solutions to provide new ways of trading energy. This is a great opportunity to learn how people interact with their network. We are hugely supportive of the Government backing up more projects as ambitious as these, in achieving a cleaner, cheaper, more desirable energy services, transport, and cleaner air for communities. We hope that the learning will inform new business models and transform the way we perceive energy in our daily lives”.