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Centrica to build pioneering local energy market in Cornwall

£19m Cornwall programme to develop virtual marketplace and deliver new technology for over 150 properties

EU Regional Development Fund logo

 
Smart energy trial to support global decarbonisation and renewable growth
 

Centrica plc has today announced a pioneering trial to develop a local energy market in Cornwall, which will see the development of a virtual marketplace and the installation of new technology into over 150 homes and businesses.

Working with partners, the £19m programme will test the use of flexible demand, generation and storage, and reward local people and businesses for being more flexible with their energy.

 

Over the next three years, Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business will work with renewable generators, local businesses and other large energy users to give them free smart technology upgrades and install new energy storage units with the aim of helping them to unlock new revenue streams.  The team will also install battery units, micro-combined heat and power (CHP), or a combination of the two, in up to 100 homes.

Once complete, participants will use the very latest smart technologies to connect to a virtual marketplace that will allow them to sell their flexible energy capacity to both the grid and the wholesale energy market.

The programme has been developed in response to the global shift of focus from centralised generation to a distributed model where energy is generated and managed closer to the point of demand.

Jorge Pikunic, Managing Director of Centrica Distributed Energy & Power said: “Cornwall has been at the forefront of harnessing renewable generation, but that has brought challenges to the local grid. Our ambition is to explore how battery storage, flexible demand and generation can to reduce pressure on the UK’s electricity grid, avoid expensive network upgrades and support future decarbonisation.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to work together with local businesses and homes to unlock new approaches that can give consumers more control of their energy, both here in the UK and potentially around the world. I believe this is a clear example of how the energy landscape could look in future - a truly decentralised market where energy is smarter, greener and cheaper.”

The trial is being funded by Centrica and the British Gas Energy for Tomorrow fund alongside a £13m grant from the European Regional Development Fund. The Distributed Energy & Power team will also be opening a new office in Truro to house the 23-strong team of project managers, technical experts and software developers who will be delivering the trial alongside its partners at Western Power Distribution, National Grid and Exeter University.

To find out more and watch a short film about the trial, go to www.centrica.com/cornwall.

Ends

For more information contact:

Emily Highmore-Talbot on 07557 614 936 or emily.highmoretalbot@centrica.com

Notes to Editors:

  • Centrica is an energy and services company. Everything we do is focused on satisfying the changing needs of our customers.
  • Our Distributed Energy & Power business has been established as a new global business unit that aims to help businesses and other large energy users to take control of their energy.
  • The LEM programme is set to formally launch in spring 2017 at which point Centrica will be working to recruit homes and businesses to participate in the trial.
  • The project is receiving £13m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
    • The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
    • Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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