Centrica announces £19m programme to trial local energy market in Cornwall

Centrica is to run a £19m programme in Cornwall to trial a local energy market. The project will test the use of flexible demand, generation and storage, and reward local people and businesses for being more flexible with their energy.

Over the next three years, Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business will work with renewable generators, local businesses and other large energy users to give them free smart technology upgrades and install new energy storage units with the aim of helping them to unlock new revenue streams. The team will also develop a virtual market place and install battery units, micro-combined heat and power (CHP), or a combination of the two, in up to 100 homes.

Once complete, participants will use the very latest smart technologies to connect to a virtual marketplace that will allow them to sell their flexible energy capacity to both the grid and the wholesale energy market.

Jorge Pikunic, managing director of Centrica Distributed Energy & Power said: “Cornwall has been at the forefront of harnessing renewable generation, but that has brought challenges to the local grid. Our ambition is to explore how battery storage, flexible demand and generation can to reduce pressure on the UK’s electricity grid, avoid expensive network upgrades and support future decarbonisation.

“This is a unique opportunity for us to work together with local businesses and homes to unlock new approaches that can give consumers more control of their energy, both here in the UK and potentially around the world. I believe this is a clear example of how the energy landscape could look in future – a truly decentralised market where energy is smarter, greener and cheaper.”

The trial is being funded by Centrica and the British Gas Energy for Tomorrow fund alongside a £13m grant from the European Regional Development Fund. The Distributed Energy & Power team will also be opening a new office in Truro to house the 23-strong team of project managers, technical experts and software developers who will be delivering the trial alongside its partners at Western Power Distribution, National Grid and Exeter University.

>To find out more and watch a short film about the trial, go to www.centrica.com/cornwall.

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