Highlighting the smart, local energy systems being developed with support from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) is designed to ensure that research and innovation takes centre stage in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The Strategy sets out the plan to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs with investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future bringing together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time.
As part of ISCF, the Government is investing up to £102.5m in a new Prospering from the Energy Revolution Challenge (PFER) that will develop cutting-edge capabilities in local energy systems that deliver cleaner, cheaper, energy for consumers, while creating high value jobs for the UK. The challenge is about showing people that they can live low carbon lifestyles in low carbon places more conveniently and more comfortably. It will revolutionise energy management for consumers through new smart systems that can deliver energy according to the society’s needs and wants from a modern energy supply that is clean, efficient and affordable. New smart systems can link energy supply, storage and demand patterns across power, heating and transport to improve efficiency, resilience, infrastructure productivity and service to consumers.
Jenni McDonnell, KTN lead for the PFER programme, showcases two of the funded projects.
This project will demonstrate a first-of-its-kind Virtual Energy System (VES) in Orkney interlinking local electricity, transport and heat networks into one controllable, overarching system – distributed generation and flexible demand. The £28.5m project is led by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and brings together an expert consortium of Orkney-based partners – Solo Energy, Aquatera, Community Energy Scotland, Heriot-Watt University and Orkney Islands Council – as well as multi-national energy company Doosan Babcock. At the heart of the project is the demonstration of flexible energy balancing technologies. The project aims to deploy:
- Up to 500 domestic batteries
- Up to 100 business and large-scale batteries
- Up to 200 Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) chargers
- Up to 600 new electrical vehicles (EVs)
- An island community-powered electric bus and e-bike integrated transport system
- Up to 100 flexible heating systems
- A Doosan industrial-scale hydrogen fuel cell
Solo Energy will implement its FlexiGrid software platform enabling smart monitoring and control of the flexible technologies. This will enable charging during periods of peak local renewable generation and the release of stored energy during times of peak demand.
This pioneering project will help Orkney maximise the potential of its significant renewable generation capabilities, help to ensure higher quality and more affordable energy services, as well as further lowering the county’s carbon footprint by decreasing reliance on imported carbon-intensive grid electricity from the UK mainland.
Once demonstrated and proven in Orkney, it is expected that the VES model and associated integrated energy service supply framework will be replicated in other areas across the UK and internationally, building long term export opportunities for the ReFLEX project partners and helping to create more flexible and renewable-based energy systems.
Project BankEnergi will deliver a concept and design study for a local energy system serving the London South Bank. The project team includes Bouygues Energies & Services, Qbots Energy, Building Sustainability, Kings College London, London South Bank University, South Bank Employers’ Group and Consortio Energy.
The vision for the project is to create a local energy marketplace whilst achieving the wider socio-economic and environmental outcomes of alleviating fuel poverty, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions. This area has the characteristics of a medium-sized town with 15,000 residents, 60,000 employees, 50,000 students and 25-30m annual visitors. Assets within the area that are under investigation as part of the feasibility study are university halls of residence, the underground as a source of waste heat, commercial office space next to a hospital, entertainment venues along the Southbank, a disused swimming pool and local carparks.
The project will use IoT sensors, predictive algorithms and installed storage to enable a local trading (non-blockchain) platform. The project aims to incentivise distributed microgeneration, energy efficiency, demand side response and DNO flexibility services. It also has a strong thermal focus since consumers are intensive users of heating and cooling.
The aim is to evaluate new system archetypes to harness under-utilised energy assets and offer capacity via a simple exchange avoiding high and unfair centralised market charges. An example is owners of generation assets and off-takers of power and heat/cooling, who will be able to trade energy in the marketplace at mutually agreed rates, outperforming traditional energy supply. The marketplace will seek to offer flexibility services to UK Power Networks to ease its capital burden associated with network reinforcement.
For more information about these projects and the other projects funded by the PFER programme, contact Jenni McDonnell. KTN plans to host a showcase event in the autumn to promote all the funded projects. Sign up to the Infrastructure System via the KTN website to stay informed and get involved.