Two local energy trading innovations have won Ashden awards for sustainable energy pioneers.
Energy Local Club allows households to benefit directly from electricity produced by local renewable generators. The first ELC started in 2016 in Bethesda, Gwynedd with 100 local households and a 100kW National Trust-owned hydro on the Berthen river. Energy Local use a ‘match tariff’, which applies to household energy per half hour period and which can be ‘matched’ against local renewable generation in the same period. In Bethesda, the match tariff is set at 7p per unit, so the local hydro generator receives 7p per unit and ELC members pay the same 7p per unit price. Co-operative Energy is the electricity supplier for households and provides all the billing, with the power generated from the hydro allocated fairly across the Club members. It is topped up using a Time of Use tariff, which sets different prices for morning, midday, evening and night, encouraging households to shift energy use to cheaper off-peak times.
Energy Local is recruiting for ELC members for a hydro project in Crickhowell and Carmarthenshire Energy Ltd is looking to develop Energy Local Clubs on two sites in Carmarthenshire.
Upside Energy’s Virtual Energy Store™ connects to devices and energy storage systems to temporarily turns them on or off to help balance the grid. At present, Upside Energy makes use of its fleet of connected devices to participate directly in National Grid’s flexibility markets but it is in discussion with other organisations. An energy supplier to offer its customers Upside-enabled home energy storage in return for a cheaper tariff and access to its flexibility. A distribution network operator could use Upside-enabled electric vehicles to smooth out peak demand at an overloaded substation.
Currently, Upside Energy’s flexibility suppliers are large business and commercial sites with uninterruptible power supplies, but it says the future is in household devices.
Other UK winners include Chargemaster, a developer of electric vehicle charging systems, which won the UK Clean Air Award.