Centrica Pioneering South West Energy Trial

Centrica plc has announced the launch of our pioneering trial to develop a local energy market in Cornwall to test how the UK can develop a more flexible and smarter energy system. Please find attached a briefing document outlining the trial in more detail.

The trial will see the development of a virtual energy marketplace for buying and selling flexibility within Cornwall and the installation of new technology (including battery storage, micro combined heat and power units – CHP – and smart technology) into over 150 homes and businesses, so that they are able to connect to, and participate in the local market.

The £19m programme, which is joint-funded by Centrica and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will be one of the UK’s landmark pilots into how the UK can roll-out more flexible energy sources and smart technology across the UK. Crucially it will demonstrate how smart technology can provide new revenue streams for consumers. The National Infrastructure Commission estimated that a more flexible and smarter energy system could save consumers £8bn a year and BEIS and Ofgem have just launched a call for evidence focused on this issue.

The LEM programme is set to formally launch in early 2017 at which point Centrica will be working to recruit homes and businesses to participate in the trial. We will work with renewable generators, local businesses and other large energy users to provide free smart technology upgrades and equipment to the 150 homes and businesses involved in the trial. The trial will then run for 3 years, allowing the participants to connect directly to this new marketplace and sell their excess flexible energy. This will help support the network at times of system stress and provide new revenue streams to the participants. The results will provide crucial insights into how the UK can maximise flexible energy.

As part of the project Centrica’s Distributed Energy & Power team will 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 an animated overview of the trial, go to www.centrica.com/cornwall.