The Government and National Grid have recognised the key role flexible, smart energy will play in supporting a secure, affordable and lower carbon system for the UK. The National Infrastructure Commission has also suggested that smart power in the form of demand management, battery storage and other technologies could save the UK £8bn in meeting our decarbonisation targets and securing energy supplies. We believe this trial is a major step forward in realising that ambition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why a Local Energy Market?
As a county, Cornwall has made extraordinary strides in terms of their take up of renewable generation but that has brought challenges in terms of network capacity. This means that the network has a queue of new renewable generation projects with high associated grid connection costs.
Our ambition is to test how energy storage, flexible demand and generation can be combined with smart technologies to support the local electricity distribution network and potentially reduce the cost of energy for local homes and businesses. If successful, we believe that the local energy market approach could be transferred to other national and international regions facing similar challenges.
What role are your partners playing in the trial?
Western Power Distribution is developing the software that will allow them to identify constrained areas of the network and buy flexible energy demand or generation from the Local Energy Market platform. At the end of the trial, it is our intention that they and other buyers will be able to purchase energy and flexibility direct from the homes and businesses that we are working with or via an aggregator. We will also be giving local renewable generators such as solar and wind farms the opportunity to sell energy via this platform.
The University of Exeter will have a full time research fellow working on the project who will be working with participants to understand the impacts of the local energy market for users and the wider network.
National Grid are helping us to ensure coordination between existing flexibility arrangements and the Local Energy Market.
How will it work?
The trial will test a variety of different technologies in both domestic and commercial environments so we can learn how the platform will work in a wide range of circumstances. We would anticipate that homeowners would typically be looking for us to automate the process as much as possible, while a business might need or want more control.
For example, we might offer a homeowner a new micro-CHP unit that allows them to generate their own energy. We could then automate the process so the unit fires up at peak times of demand on the network and therefore relives the pressure on the grid. Providing this service, could secure the householder a payment, resulting in lower fuel bills.
On the other hand, a business owner might combine their existing on-site generation such as a back-up generator with a new energy storage unit and choose to make the decision themselves about whether to export any excess energy to the grid and make some money, or store it for use on-site at a later time.
How can people get involved?
The programme was launched in February 2017. Registrations for residents has now closed but businesses are still able to register.
How can I find out more about Centrica's Distributed Energy & Power business?