Game changer in residential energy market
Europe’s largest community battery (2MWh)
Consortium of private and public sector and academia
Smart use of renewable energy
Promises efficient energy at lower cost to protect the planet
Potential to roll out across large new residential developments in UK
A trailblazing consortium of business, government and academia has come together, supported by Innovate UK, to pilot state-of-the-art technologies and unique business models. The pilot will demonstrate how to lower cost and reduce carbon whilst allowing residents to better engage with the energy they consume.
Homeowners at Trent Basin will be invited to participate in the project and, by opting in, will look to make significant savings in energy costs. Technologies to be employed include photovoltaic panels, communal battery and heat stores and ground source heat pumps.
The project; research, technology and installation; in planning for just 3 years, is being supported by £6m of grant funding from Innovate UK via two Energy Programmes, The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and Project SCENe (Sustainable Community Energy Networks). A formidable consortium of partners has come together to deliver the scheme, including Blueprint, The University of Nottingham, AT Kearney, Smartklub, Siemens, URBED, Slam Jam, Stickyworld, Loughborough University, Solar Ready and supported by Nottingham City Council.
The project is also being supported by innovative and specialist local suppliers such as the award-winning EvoEnergy, contracted to install the battery storage solution at the heart of the Community Energy System at Trent Basin.
Mike Salisbury is Head of Engineering at EvoEnergy: “It is a pleasure to be awarded the opportunity to work alongside like-minded companies and individuals that share the same vision as ourselves for the future of energy storage technology. The locality of the project also increases the sentiment and we’re delighted that we can now bring to life the commercial viability of two years’ hard work and planning for a ground-breaking project that will provide a repeatable and scalable model for the future.”
Project input has also been provided by the regionally based business, Focus Consultants. Partner at the firm, Keith Butler comments: “As the project managers and energy advisors for the Trent Basin scheme, Focus Consultants are very pleased to be part of this development which is pioneering the way homes and communities receive their energy and could have huge implications for the future.”
Gordon Waddington is Chief Executive of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA): “One of the great issues of our time is to try and make enough clean energy quickly and cheaply. This is a global issue, and perhaps the greatest technical challenge we face. The aim of ERA is to bring together expertise to demonstrate what can be done through thinking and working innovatively and collaboratively.
“The Community Energy demonstrator at Trent Basin is a great example of how existing technologies can be used to enable communities to significantly reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources.”
“The distribution system will be connected to the grid and, in addition to drawing renewable energy from community sources, will be able to buy power from the grid when it has surplus and redistribute to meet demand. There is a need to find ways to store energy typically at night when demand is slack, smoothing out the peaks and troughs of supply and demand.
“The way we generate and distribute energy in the UK is inefficient and carbon intensive. It doesn’t have to be like this. With new technologies, especially in renewable energy and storage it is possible to do better.”
The Community Energy project is being developed by industry and an academic team headed up by Professor Mark Gillott, Professor of Sustainable Building Design, Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Nottingham.
“We need a mind shift away from personalised household energy generation, storage and use to larger community schemes that provide greater efficiencies and cost savings.”
Project SCENe is informed by the University of Nottingham’s multi-award winning Creative Energy Homes low/zero carbon housing project which incorporates a heat network and electricity micro-grid which utilises community energy stores and demand side management technologies.
Residents that opt into the scheme will have photovoltaic panels installed on their roofs, and be provided with smart meters and voice controlled speakers for access to live data on energy created, stored and consumed. An urban solar panel farm will also be installed on the areas of the site yet to be developed and as houses are built, panels transferred to each home. Trent Basin will grow through five phases to create a new neighbourhood of 500 homes. Subsequent investment will include ground source heat pumps which will generate heat for local storage, distribution and use. Clean, green energy for the pumps will be sourced from the photovoltaic panels and community battery.
Nick Ebbs continued: “The project takes our commitment to sustainability to an entirely new level. Our aspiration is to be able to replicate the model, once proven, with our future pipeline of large scale residential projects. It’s a game changer for the energy market.”