The electricity market is rapidly changing with an increasing focus on localised energy markets, creating opportunities for communities to actively engage with and take ownership of energy demand and supply.
What is the issue?
The electricity market is rapidly changing with an increasing focus on localised energy markets. As new markets form it is an open question as to the role and capacity of community energy groups to compete alongside incumbents within the energy market. Community energy can play a vital role in encouraging and enabling people to act as increasingly active consumers, drawing on the trust and credibility earned through local presence, governance and accountability. However, without effective and financially sustainable business models, community energy will have to reply only on voluntary resourcing and grants. Given the size of the challenge, this is unlikely to underpin the scale of change required.
What will the project try to achieve?
Solar Streets will examine the options for community action within local electricity markets through:
* A feasibility study that will test the economic, technical, regulatory and social conditions through which community models for generating local value within electricity markets can be viable
* The feasibility will underpin a practical pilot designed to test the degree to which a collective approach can be successful in encouraging electricity demand management at a neighbourhood level enhanced by integration of domestic solar PV, battery storage and, if possible, a Time of Use electricity tariff.
The pilot is part of the WPD Open LV programme. As such collective electricity demand will be monitored at the substation level and will be displayed locally and via a software app available to households, alongside data from local solar systems and battery storage. Substation data will be broken down by separate feeders covering different parts of the neighbourhood. The provision of data at a neighbourhood level will be used to encourage collective rather than just individual response to electricity demand. As part of the feasibility study and the pilot, different approaches to optimising battery operation will be tested, including both prioritising individual households and the wider community
Who might be interested in this project?
DNOs, Community energy groups, Community Energy England, policy makers, regulators and the wider energy industry.