Councils in Thames Valley use smart grid connectivity

Four sites belonging to West Berkshire Council have been connected to a ‘smart energy’ pilot project in Thames Valley.
Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) is working with councils at West Berkshire and Reading as part of a £22.9 million SMART Places Live Lab project funded by the Department for Transport and known as the ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport).
PV arrays at West Berkshire Council’s head office and Northcroft leisure centre in Newbury, The Willink School in Burghfield Common and Building 150 (a warehouse on a former army base) have been linked using Cirrus Flex, SGS’s distributed energy resources management system. The council can monitor and analyse the amount of electricity generated at the sites and begin planning for net-zero operations and also use the platform to manage energy use across the facilities.
Reading Borough Council is already working with SGS to monitor its solar PV and electric vehicle (EV) charging sites, and aims to control, optimise, and interact with wider grid services.
The Thames Valley Live Lab project has recently concluded and work is underway to explore how the trial can be extended. The smart energy platform created during the live lab could form the basis to deliver and utilise clean energy for buildings, services, and transport at the lowest cost to local authorities, while meeting their mandatory net-zero targets.
Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter, Executive Member for Environment and Waste at West Berkshire Council, said: “Being able to see how much energy is being generated by the solar panels across these four sites is extremely useful for planning our energy usage. The analytics dashboard gives us an excellent idea of what power is available and how it’s being used. The next steps are even more exciting – potentially managing power generation and use across the sites and linking that to the bigger picture about how we charge the council’s EVs and deliver services at our facilities.”
Ben Kirley, project manager at SGS, said: “Connecting West Berkshire Council’s four sites to our smart energy platform is a key milestone for the Thames Valley Live Lab. This pilot project is a signpost for the future, when councils will be able to manage their energy generation and use across multiple sites using a single platform.That’s essential if councils are going to hit their net-zero targets, while keeping down the costs to taxpayers. It’s exciting to be involved in this project and we’re looking forward to exploring how we can extend our work with the councils once the Live Lab comes to an end.”Giles Perkins, Live Labs Programme Director said: “The work in the Thames Valley Live Lab illustrates that potential in linking together the future needs and opportunities of our buildings and vehicles linked with digital solutions to maximise their potential. This link between place, energy, mobility and digital connectivity will be key in use achieving and exceeding net-zero ambitions”

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