Centrica trials Cornish clean energy microgrid

UK utility Centrica is launching a three-year trial in which batteries and other systems, such as combined heat and power units, will be installed in dozens of houses, businesses and hospitals in Cornwall.

The company is working in association with the National Grid and is to spend £6m on top of EU regional development funding of £13m to evaluate the potential for a new independent power market in the southwest of England.
Jorge Pikunic
“The kind of systems we want to test will show what future utility business models will be,” said Jorge Pikunic, managing director of Centrica’s new distributed energy and power business.

Cornish residents receive 30 per cent of their electricity from renewables, up from 26 per cent in 2015, recent data shows. The project will also provide insight on how a mini power network compares to upgrading existing power grid.

Combined heat and power systems capture heat from electricity generation and use it to warm buildings in a way that uses less fuel. By connecting these units to batteries, the Cornwall pilot will allow people to make and store their own power.

The FT reports that an automated system could fire up these units when there is heavy demand on the grid, securing a payment for households that should lower their energy bills.

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