Local energy market trial pioneers a new energy future

The world needs an energy system that is secure, affordable and lower carbon. To help make this a reality, Centrica and partners*, are pioneering a new energy future with a £19 million (€21 million) local energy market trial in Cornwall, UK.

The three-year trial will test how flexible demand, generation and storage can reduce pressure on the electricity grid, enable the growth of renewables and avoid expensive network upgrades.

Centrica will install new technology such as battery storage and solar panels in 150 homes and businesses. Participants will use the latest smart technology to connect to a ‘virtual marketplace’ where they will be able to sell their flexible energy capacity to the electricity grid and the wholesale energy market.

How will this help Cornwall and other locations realise their energy ambitions?

As a county, Cornwall has been at the forefront of moves to harness renewable generation but that has created challenges for the local grid. This means that the network has a queue of renewable generation projects with high grid connection costs. Cornwall wants to increase local control over its energy and tackle some of the challenges it faces, such as high levels of fuel poverty.

Centrica believes the trial will not only help Cornwall realise its energy ambitions, but lead the way for the UK and other countries to do the same.

This view is supported by the UK National Infrastructure Commission which stated that smart power in the form of demand management, battery storage and other technologies, could save the UK £8 billion in meeting decarbonisation targets and securing energy supplies.

*The local energy market trial is delivered in partnership with Cornwall’s local distribution network operator, Western Power Distribution, alongside National Grid and the University of Exeter.

Key figures

9 million Centrica’s products have helped customers save carbon emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 9 million homes since 2008

19% annual reduction in total carbon emissions achieved in 2017

13,000 electric vehicle charge points installed since 2013