Community energy activists in south London have teamed up with two power behemoths to innovate power flexibility at the neighbourhood-level local.
A co-operatively-funded,-owned and-managed 37kWp solar array atop Elmore House, a LB Lambeth block in Loughborough Junction, is the heart of the three-month trial, dubbed the Urban Energy Club.
Adding a 10kW/20 kWh battery to the decade-old array has progressed the venture, which arose out of community PV projects on the area’s roofs initiated by Brixton Energy. That co-operative’s offshoot Repowering London experimented with blockchain-facilitated peer-to-peer trading across the installations.
The live trial in local flex has seen the battery store, time-switch and supply clean electricity to residents. Stored clean solar has provided on average 42% of each triallist home’s electricity, and trimmed around £7.50 from monthly bills.
In planning since 2019, the Urban Energy Club trial is co-managed by Repowering London, in tandem with EDF and UK Power Networks.
The club’s offshoot Project CommUNITY, also centred around Elmore House, tested the P2P element.
This is the second week of Community Energy Fortnight, where upwards of 350 local co-ops nationwide celebrate the movement’s growth.
Sales of clean power to co-op members and to local citizens is seen by activists as critical to achieving mass understanding of clean energy, and its widespread adoption as a necessity towards Net Zero. For a decade, energy secretaries of state have resisted the social innovation, D-BEIS Kwasi Kwarteng among them.
Local sales by co-ops and fairer arrangements for power market trading topped recent demands on Kwarteng from a leading all-party environmental committee. Kwarteng’s response was judged ‘disappointing’ by Community Energy England, one of the home nations’ advocacy bodies.
At 13:30 hours on 1 July Parliament will debate barriers still imposed by Whitehall on the community energy burgeoning sector. Germany alone boasts over 900 power co-operatives, and more several hundred municipal suppliers.