What’s in store for community power?

3 July 2018

Project SCENe (Sustainable Community Energy Networks), a community power demonstrator funded by Innovate UK and a flagship project of the Energy Research Accelerator, reports completion of a 2.1 MWh/500 kW Tesla lithium-ion battery installation, which is described as “the largest community energy battery in Europe.” The battery has been installed by Evoenergy.

Project SCENe, which aims to “accelerate the adoption of community energy systems” and “to stimulate the adoption of ‘off grid’ energy by home buyers”, is being implemented in conjunction with the Trent Basin residential development, Nottingham, UK. The battery will be fed by power from a 200 kWp photovoltaic solar farm currently under construction as part of the development, together with rooftop solar to be installed on the new houses.

The scheme will also include localised heat production (eg ground source heat pumps) and distribution, and localised heat stores.

A community energy company has been established, which residents have the option of joining, and which aims “to operate for the benefit of everyone involved.”

The Trent Basin energy system will be connected to the grid and, in addition to drawing on renewable energy generated by the community, will also be able to buy and store electricity from the grid when it is cheapest, and redistribute it to meet the demands of residents. In the short term, shared profits from the scheme will help residents to offset energy costs, while in the longer term the intention is to offer reduced price heating to Trent Basin households.

Organisations involved in Project SCENe include specialist regeneration developer, Blueprint (wholly owned by Aviva Investors’ igloo Regeneration Fund and Nottingham City Council), the University of Nottingham, AT Kearney, SmartKlub (responsible for “innovating and operating” the new community energy company), Limejump (battery commercial operations), Siemens, URBED, Slam Jam, Sticky World, Loughborough University, and Solar Ready.

“Using novel consumer engagement tools and a focus on business model development” the consortium says it “will develop and test business model templates that could be used by any developers of large scale housing projects.”

SmartKlub was founded by a group of distributed energy specialists who noticed that “the market was failing to provide integrated community energy projects.” Initiated by funding from E.ON, and supported by Siemens, “SmartKlub has been created to meet this need.” 

Community Community battery at Trent Basin

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