Location: Danbury, UK
Participants: Essex County Council
Essex County Council will deliver an energy demonstration project on public buildings bringing together local renewable energy generation, smart tariffs and flexibility to test a business model that can provide financial and social benefits to communities and small-scale generators.
The pilot is based in Danbury Village, Chelmsford, and includes the installation of Solar PV systems at 3 public buildings. This renewable energy capacity will allow us to test prosumer models. The main concept that we are aiming to test is called ‘Energy Local club’. The Energy Local concept aggregates smart meter data together to allow customers to access 'Time of Use Tariffs' and directly use locally owned small-scale renewable generation by entering half-hourly settlement as one virtual meter. This pilot project will test a prosumer proposition which does not depend on subsidies as previous UK prosumer models to create economically viable projects. It will link local generation with demand and provide prosumers/customers with improved export and import prices. Advantages include:
- Offers local consumers ability to self-consume power locally
- Helps to utilise power generated in the distribution network area
- Enables dynamic time of use tariffs (TOU)
- Offers lower prices for consumers and better revenues for local generators.
Moreover, the model will test an organisational structure that support renewable energy ownership by individuals and community organisations and keep more value from local electricity generation in local communities. The link with a local authority and the implementation of this model in public buildings will help to accelerate carbon reduction in the UK’s public sector. The successful implementation of this pilot will provide the foundation for roll out similar projects across Essex’s 450 schools, 74 libraries and other public buildings, contributing significantly to the reduction of carbon emission and EMPOWERment of communities
How does this model work?
- Clubs are made up of members of a community (households, community buildings, small businesses) and local generators. This model requires all members to be behind the same primary substation and all consumers to have smart energy meters installed to show when and how much power they are using.
- The Club agrees a price that consumers (members) will pay for the electricity they use when the local renewable energy is being generated - the ‘match’ tariff. This price will be higher than what the local renewable generator would normally receive, but lower than what members would normally pay in the market.
- The club chooses a partner energy supplier that sells the extra power they need when there is not enough local electricity generated. Electricity not matched to the local generation will be charged at different prices at different times of day - a Time of Use (ToU) tariff – and this is set by the electricity supplier. The ToU tariff varies the price through the day to encourage consumers to shift their power use away from peak-time. Each member has access to a dashboard to show when to use power at the cheapest rate. The electricity used by each member is measured on a half-hourly basis and is matched against electricity generated by club generators in the same period. The supplier sends each consumer the bill for their total power use.
The project contributes to Essex County Council strategic organisation priorities:
- Reduce carbon emissions from our Public Estate
- Promote clean growth in Essex communities
- Promote access to affordable energy to local communities and businesses.
All club members will buy electricity from the same Energy supplier.
- Consumers will be on ‘time of use tariffs’ and be able to access a dashboard showing the periods of lower pricing.
- All club members will have half-hourly electricity meters.
- Public buildings will have renewable energy generation on-site.
- Generators will have to sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the supplier that is working with the Energy Local Club. They will receive an income for every kWh exported. Units that are consumed by the members of the ELC in the same half hour as it was generated will be paid at the “match” tariff. Units of electricity that are not used by consumers in the same half hour period are exported and earn the rate specified in the PPA.