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Brixton Residents Are First in the UK to Trial Smart ‘Flexible Energy’ Project

October 27, 2019 by Luke James

Residents living in a block of flats in Brixton are set to be the first in the UK to trial a new 'flexible energy' project headed by UK Power Networks in partnership with EDF Energy and Repowering London.

Residents living in a block of flats in Brixton are to become the first domestic users in the UK who are able to tap into the 'flexible energy' market. In partnership with EDF Energy and Repowering London, UK Power Networks is set to trial its unique project at Brixton's Elmore House. As part of the projects, residents will be able to tap into a local energy market that offers flexible services to the distribution network. 

Elmore House already has a peer-to-peer energy market through EDF's 'CommUNITY' project. This project enables residents to access energy generated by a solar PV system on the building's roof, store it in a battery, and trade with other residents via blockchain technology. 


Renewable Energy at an Affordable Cost

Urban Energy Club, the new 'flexible energy' initiative being trialed, is designed to take this peer-to-peer model one step further. It will do this by observing how residents can supplement local power supplies operated by UK Power Networks through flexible power services from the building's solar panels in real-time response to local demand.  

According to UK Power Networks, this trial will potentially enable more people to use renewable energy at a much lower cost. 


Elmore house solar panels on top of roof.

Solar panels on the roof of Elmore House in Brixton. Image Credit: Brixton Energy. 


Goals of the Urban Energy Club Trial

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said, “Elmore House residents will be able to dip their toes into the water of managing renewable energy, generated from their own rooftop. The results will really help us design and shape future services. We hope it will ultimately offer more residents the opportunity to run their energy supplies like this."

Traditionally, those living in apartment blocks have been more reluctant (and largely less able) to use energy-efficient and low carbon technologies such as solar PV systems. It is hoped that this project will enable and encourage these people to participate in flexible energy. 

Agamemnon Otero, co-CEO of Repowering London, said, “Building the first inner-city community energy project on social housing in the UK in 2012 was just the start. Brixton Energy Solar 1 showed how energy could be produced and owned by communities, creating a local solution to fuel poverty and climate change. Now there are four projects up and running in the London Borough of Lambeth."

“Urban Energy Club is the next step in developing a local energy model where renewable energy can be stored and used on-site by residents. Generating, managing and sharing their own energy truly empowers people, and we can live up to the co-ops’ mission ‘Power to for and by the people’.”

The flexible energy project is the first step towards understanding how local energy markets can interact with and support the power grid to support market demands and inspire more people to make efforts in becoming carbon neutral. 

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