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Centrica ramps up Local Energy Market as part of major flexibility trial

A 10kW sonnen battery installed as part of the LEM in the home of David and Anna Corns.

A 10kW sonnen battery installed as part of the LEM in the home of David and Anna Corns.

Centrica has completed the installations of 100 domestic batteries in Cornwall as part of its Local Energy Market (LEM) trial.

Installation of 100 sonnen batteries, and 46 solar PV arrays in Cornwall began last September and have only now been completed.

The domestic assets will be aggregated together to form one ‘block’ of flexibility, with a combined storage capacity of 585kWh, and will feed into Centrica's LEM. The £19 million project is being funded by Centrica and the European Regional Development Fund.

A platform has been developed by Centrica as a central point to the project and is set to be fully completed by July to begin trials.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) and National Grid will be able to submit bids for flexibility up to three months in advance, with sellers of flexibility able to respond with when they are available and what services they can provide.

As part of the project, a 1MWh redT flow battery system was installed in 2017 at The Olde House, a working farm and holiday retreat. It was co-funded by Centrica and a time of use supply optimisation contract has been supplied to The Olde House through British Gas.

Cornwall was chosen as the location for the trial as it has a high uptake of renewables, leading to significant grid constraints. Flexibility could be one solution to overcoming those grid constraints, which would prevent investment into upgrading infrastructure in the area.

James Atkinson, energy engineer and commercial analyst for the LEM, said the trial was looking to prove that LEMs can overcome grid constraints and give DNOs confidence in utilising flexibility technologies.

“It’s not until we can prove that they can use flex reliably that they’ll start to offer these non-firm connections on the understanding that they’ll be able to use the flex.

“The cost savings are huge if and when we can prove it,” he added.

The trial will continue on for another year, with participants able to keep the equipment after completion.


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