EMpower

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

The UK peak electricity operating margin is at historic lows and DECC are looking to incentivise reductions in peak demand. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are looking at peak demand limits to reduce investment for network reinforcement. EMPower will develop a technology solution, which enables communities to improve their energy efficiency by co-operatively scheduling electricity usage and using local generation and storage. The technology will enable communities to secure revenue by offering the electricity market a reduced peak demand on the UK supply to realise significant savings on electricity bills through maximising the use of electricity generation and storage on site, and through automated shifting of loads to achieve the greatest community benefit. The solution needs to be customer-focussed to
maximise participation, minimise disruption and provide benefits that directly relate to current and future customer needs. Our solution to this is to tackle the challenges of peak demand reduction at a community level providing greater cost benefits to customers and a more robust and low-risk business case for DNOs.

The major benefit of the proposed solution to the DNOs and National Grid will be capacity for peak load reduction and limiting the need for traditional and expensive grid reinforcement. We will work with DNOs to construct commercial frameworks to reward communities that limit their peak demand, and develop the delivery vehicle for this finance incentive to determine the potential for wider application. Our 18-month project will prepare the solution for market in 2016 when we expect rising electricity prices, the threat of peak-time power cuts, electric vehicles and maturity of electricity storage to make our solution attractive.

Our project will pilot our technology solution through partnership with Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE). This pilot project will provide greatest benefit within the timescale and budget by focusing specifically on demonstrating the value of the management of on-site solar PV generation in conjunction with battery storage and load shifting to provide a reduction on grid demands during peak periods. This first release of the product will demonstrate the commercial case, prove the technology with real customers and a real community, and provide the foundation for a progressive product enhancement and development strategy as the market develops.

Planned Impact

The UK peak electricity operating margin is at historic lows and DECC are looking to incentivise reductions in peak demand. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are looking at peak demand limits to reduce investment for network reinforcement. The solution needs to be customer-focussed to maximise participation, minimise disruption and provide benefits that directly relate to current and future customer needs. Our solution to this is to tackle the challenges of peak demand reduction at a community level; providing greater cost benefits to customers and a more robust and low-risk business case for DNOs. The major benefit of the proposed solution to the DNOs and National Grid will be capacity for peak load reduction and limiting the need for traditional and expensive grid reinforcement. We will work with DNOs to construct commercial frameworks to reward communities that limit their peak demand, and develop the delivery vehicle for this finance incentive to determine the potential for wider application. Our 18-month project will prepare the solution for market in 2016 when we expect rising electricity prices, the threat of peak-time power cuts, electric vehicles and maturity of electricity storage to make our solution attractive.

Global impact from this research is also clear. The use of renewable energy and the electrification of heating and transport will create severe challenges for future electrical distribution systems. Technologies such as those developed in this project have the potential to significantly increase the robustness and security of future electricity networks. Advances in the areas of the management of renewable energy resources and energy storage at a local level will be beneficial for the electricity networks of the future which are likely to include significant penetration of distributed generation resources.

UK industry will benefit significantly from this project by developing world-leading technology based on the outcomes of this research, the project partners being the immediate beneficiaries. A key objective of this project is to provide realistic demonstrations of the technology quickly to allow rapid commercialisation. At the same time, work with the university will determine how the technology will need to be adapted for market scenarios of the future. This combined approach to development will sustain the commercial impact of the new technology for the foreseeable future.

For Academia, this work provides the potential to better understand how to implement energy management with increasing levels of RES together with the electrification of heating and transport, and to identify any areas that may produce bottlenecks in the future deployment of these concepts. The impact of these techniques also clearly has the potential for impact in other application areas such as Aerospace and Transport. Furthering knowledge in these areas can contribute to the teaching of Electrical Engineering and its importance for renewable energy use. This is of high importance, in order to help reduce the significant deficit in power engineers in the UK (and beyond).

Publications

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Rhodes M (2015) Street Smart in CIBSE Journal

 
Description This project developed equipment and control technologies to manage electrical energy usage at community level to create benefit for end users of electricity. The equipment and control algorithms were deployed in 10 houses in the South West of the UK to determine the viability of the system. Simulation work showed that the technology could make a real reduction in electricity costs for consumers for larger (1000 house) communities. Engagement with the community provided user feedback on the technologies deployed - particularly where improvements can be made.
Exploitation Route We are developing and trialing modified control laws in an EU funded project (SENSIBLE) with a consortium of commercial and community energy stakeholders. Equipment is being deployed in 40 houses in Nottingham.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare

URL http://portfolio.cpl.co.uk/CIBSE/201506/electric-housing/
 
Description The findings have justified the approach to energy management and the companies involved in the collaboration are now seeking funding to support product development. Some of the findings are now being used as part of a major EU funded demonstration project for Community Energy
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Horizon 2020
Amount € 1,170,321,401 (EUR)
Funding ID 645963 
Organisation European Union 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2015 
End 06/2018
 
Description Community Engagement Activities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Engagement with the potential users of community energy equipment to a) demonstrate potential benefits b) recuit volunteers to test equipment. 10 volunteers recruited
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
 
Description Nottingham in Parliament Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Mark Sumner was part of an expert panel for a Question and Answer Session on "Community Energy". The event was based in the Houses of Parliament as part of "Nottingham in Parliament Day" and lasted for 1 hour. The event was attended by policy makers, politicians, industrial representatives (energy providers, equipment manufacturers, DNO) as well as other academics and members of the public and covered many aspects of the future of Community Energy systems at local level. The aims were to promote the various projects that the University of Nottingham participates in (including Empower, SENSIBLE, SCENE).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.nottinghaminparliamentday.uk/events/nottingham-research-futures/future-of-energy-the-comm...
 
Description PEMC Group Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference provided by the research group to disseminate findings to wider industrial network

Collaborations with Cummins, and Baldwin and Francis
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description Stakeholder Follow Up Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Follow up workshop to present results of project to DECC, InnovateUK, DNOs and other practitioners in this area. Positive feedback received from audience and encouragement to continue project development
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Stakeholder workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact We presented findings to representatives from DECC, DNOs, InnovateUK and other practitioners in the field to share common good practice and determine common needs for energy policy change. Feedback received from participants helped to shape the project's future direction
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014