Cornwall flexible energy trials prove success

Industry News – Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Centrica has conluded the UK’s biggest trial of energy flexibility with over 200 homes and businesses trading stored renewable electricity. Over three years, the £16.7 million Cornwall Local Energy Market (LEM) saw 310 MWh of power traded successfully, with greenhouse gas savings of nearly 10,000 tonnes a year as a result.

Centrica has calculated that in order to accommodate the UK Government’s plans to power every home with offshore wind, as much as 25TWh of electricity will need to be traded flexibly every year.

Electric vehicles, smart hot water tanks and battery storage are key to unlocking the Government’s wind power ambitions, by enabling home and business owners to trade electricity providing balance to the electricity grid, according to a report by Centrica. As part of the trial, five megawatts of low carbon technology was installed across more than 100 businesses and a further 100 homes received a combination of solar panels and wall mounted battery storage. The stored capacity of the home battery systems was combined to form a Virtual Power Plant and, when aggregated, was able to trade with the grid operators, completely autonomously. Some businesses saved as much as 35% on energy costs by operating at times more aligned with grid needs.

As Centrica says, a major stumbling-block on the introduction of a more flexible and responsive electricity grid was also overcome when, for the first time anywhere in the world, the local Distribution System Operator (Western Power Distribution) and the Transmission System Operator (National Grid ESO) both procured flexibility simultaneously via Centrica’s auction-based marketplace. This would pave the way for a smarter grid that is better able to accommodate renewable energy.

Centrica’s LEM platform allows buyers to place bids for fexibility services, which are then matched with offers by sellers (homes and businesses) through auctions that run from months ahead all the way to same day. The platform manages the process for both sides from contract creation all the way to baselining and settlement, making it easy to trade flexibility.

More information: Centrica

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