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EDF, UKPN to trial residential flexibility in local energy market project

Image: EDF

Image: EDF

A local energy market (LEM) in Brixton is to provide UK Power Networks (UKPN) with flexibility services through residential solar and storage.

Elmore House – a block of flats in South London – is already taking part in Project CommUNITY, a peer-to-peer energy trading trial run by EDF. Project CommUNITY uses blockchain to trade energy generated from solar and stored in batteries between residents.

Now it is to go one step further, with an LEM to run out of the flats, testing how residents can support local power supplies by offering flexible power services to respond to supply and demand. The project, dubbed Urban Energy Club, is being run by EDF, UKPN and Repowering London.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said residents will be able to “dip their toes into the water” of managing renewable energy.

“The results will really help us design and shape future services. We hope it will ultimately offer more residents the opportunity to run their energy supplies like this,” Cameron continued.

A report from the Energy Systems Catapult this week provided guidance on the development of LEMs, citing interoperability, balancing and settlement and conflict management as key considerations for stakeholders.

It warned that developers should take steps to future-proof LEMs in light of a raft of regulatory and market changes.

Trials into varying methods of enabling residential flexibility are ongoing across the country, with Centrica being one of the major proponents, both with its own LEM trial in Cornwall and a new project using residential hot water tanks as part of a virtual power plant for providing flexibility.

UKPN has also trialed residential solar and storage for flexibility prior to the Urban Energy Club trial, incorporating the technologies into a virtual power plant in 2018.

The Urban Energy Club project has the potential to enable more people to use renewables and bring new income for individuals and communities otherwise unable to participate in the flexibility market, UKPN said, with residents of apartment blocks and flats traditionally deterred from using low carbon technology.

Maria Brucoli, smart energy systems manager at EDF Energy R&D, said the Urban Energy Club project will hopefully inspire “many more” of its kind.

“Working with UK Power Networks on this new project is the first step to understanding how domestic, local energy markets like this can interact with the grid and flex to match market demands.”

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