Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council are the first to connect to the smart energy platform, which forms part of the Thames Valley Live project.
The first phase of a project to help UK local authorities to implement their required moves towards net-zero CO2 emissions has gone live.
The Thames Valley Live Lab project is being delivered by Glasgow-based energy software specialist, Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS), which is working with telecoms company O2, tech giant Siemens and engineering consultancy Stantec as well as six local authorities.
The platform has gone live with energy assets from the first two councils: Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council. The councils will connect to the system in the coming two months.
It will monitor and manage solar panels, electric vehicle (EV) charging points and other flexible electrical equipment at the local authorities’ facilities. The Live Labs system is based on SGS’s ANM Strata fleet distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) to create the smart energy operations platform (SEOP).
The cloud-based SEOP will schedule when the assets should be operated to save money, reduce CO2 emissions, and manage local authority-owned distributed energy resources (DER) across the sites.
Functionalities include setting electric vehicle (EV) charge rates and being able to remotely schedule building energy usage and EV charging point operation.
Data will also be fed into other parts of the Thames Valley Live Lab project, which cover health, mobility, and transport.
“A big challenge lies ahead for local authority energy managers, who will have to plan, implement, and operate net-zero carbon energy in the coming years”
SGS expects the data from the energy component of the project to influence those other important service areas in the Live Lab project.
“A big challenge lies ahead for local authority energy managers, who will have to plan, implement, and operate net-zero carbon energy in the coming years,” said Graham Ault, executive director and co-founder of SGS.
He added: “Our ANM Strata platform provides the basis to manage and track net-zero energy, while underpinning cost-savings through better power grid integration and new energy market opportunities including new technical services, network flexibility, and system balancing.
“SGS’s mission is to provide the software systems to address the three Ds of energy systems – decarbonisation, decentralisation, and digitalisation.”
The Thames Valley Live Lab aims to bring together all three of those strands, allowing carbon-free electricity generated on-site by solar panels to be controlled and used for emission free transport using digital technology. Ault said that it is now possible to scale low-carbon technology deployments up to significant levels and capture all the energy and flexibility benefits for a local authority area.
Simon Beasley, network and parking manager at Reading Borough Council and Live Lab project lead, described having a system that can control when and how solar panels, EV charging points and other energy assets operate as “a game changer”.
He added: “We’ll be able to save money, reduce our CO2 emissions, and better manage our energy across our sites.
“The data that will be generated by this part of the project will also play a wider role in improving the lives of people living and working in Reading and the surrounding area.
“Having this rich data on our energy assets will help to influence how we develop the transport, mobility, and even health areas of the Live Lab project and local authority operations thereafter.”
“The data that will be generated by this part of the project will also play a wider role in improving the lives of people living and working in Reading and the surrounding area”
The four other participating councils – Bracknell Forest Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor, Slough Borough Council, and West Berks Council – will connect assets to the project over the course of the coming year.
The project partnership was awarded £4.5m in 2019 as part of the Adept (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport) Smart Places Live Labs Programme, a two-year £22.9m project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway, and WSP.
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