Owen Square Community Energy initiative is a member-based local energy supply company jointly operated by Easton Community Centre (ECC), local energy group Easton Energy Group (EEG) and Bristol-based microgrid developer Clean Energy Prospector (CEPRO). The Owen Square Community Energy initiative, which began in 2014, is tackling the challenge of how to develop a replicable business case for intensive low carbon retrofits of homes. It includes plans to establish a ‘community microgrid’, incorporating a local supply company, community scale thermal storage, domestic heat pumps and solar PV, and to explore the potential economic gains from energy markets and grid services.
What is the challenge?
The initiative is seeking to convert at least 100 out of the 358 homes fed by the local substation from gas central heating to a solar/heat pump/thermal store solution, using a funded pay-as-you-go model. With this kind of significant electrification of heat, a crucial challenge is around managing additional loads on the substation and finding ways to reduce constraints.
What is the proposed solution and how is OpenLV enabling it?
Owen Square Community Energy will use substation data to promote take up of low carbon technologies by local households and match up storage, solar PV and heat pump installations in a way that optimises network capacity.
The solution being trialled is a ‘community microgrid’ approach. The project takes as its geography and customer base the 358 homes and nine businesses connected to a single substation located in Owen Square park in Bristol, next to a busy community centre.
OpenLV substation data will be used in three ways in the trial:
- It will be integrated into the OwenSquare.coop website as a customer recruitment and engagement tool, which together with marketing activity aims to encourage take up of the solar/heat pump/thermal store offer by homes connected to the substation.
- It will be used to help optimise the times at which storage systems, PV and heat pumps operate; maximising the amount of technology that can be connected and making it possible for local households to flex their demand in order to match local demand and generation and reduce peak demand on the local network.
- It will be used to explore the economic value of the ‘low voltage network as a virtual microgrid’, including loss reduction benefits, to support a business case for localised network charges.