A project incorporating the development of a local, smart energy system for both businesses and consumers surrounding Ellesmere Port in Cheshire has received backing from Innovate UK.
The project is amongst the first to receive a funding award under the government’s Industrial Strategy – specifically the ‘prospering from the energy revolution’ element of the plan – and will see £200,000 of funding help develop a whole system energy solution across the development.
That funding is to be part-matched by member organisations of the Cheshire Energy Hub and will see the so-called ‘Energy Innovation District’ fitted with technology specifically designed to enable a cleaner, lower-cost energy system to consumers and industry.
Technology to be installed on the project includes sensors, data collection and analytics.
Engineering, design and construction firm Burns & McDonnell is to work on the project, and the firm’s UK managing director Jonathan Chapman said it stood to bring smart energy solutions to some of the country’s most significant energy consumers.
“The area currently consumes around 5% of the UK's energy and the bid will allow us to assess what emerging technology could be used to drive down the cost of clean energy - not just for local industry but for all consumers in the area.
“The North West of England is leading the way in energy innovation and the Cheshire Energy Hub is ideally placed to demonstrate how a low carbon, low cost smart energy future can be enabled to deliver the ambitions of the government’s Industrial Strategy,” he said.
As well as Ellesmere Port, another intensive energy users in the area include Ineos Chlor, Essar’s refinery at Stanlow, CF Fertilisers and Encirc, while automotive giant Vauxhall maintains an assembly plant in the area.
But the area is too blessed with a not insignificant quantity of renewable power generation from the 50MW+ Frodsham onshore wind farm. There is too the potential for a tidal power farm to be constructed on the River Mersey, a project which has received backing from the City of Liverpool as well as support from the opposition Labour Party. The Energy Innovation District too bears some similarities to another of Burns & McDonnell’s projects in Keele University’s £15 million Smart Energy Network Demonstrator, which will see the installation of 5MW of renewables, 24 digital substations, 1,500 smart meters, 500 home controllers and energy storage.