New Anglia Energy launches landmark Smarter Norwich project

Nigel Cornwall of New Anglia Energy hosted the launch of the Greater Norwich Smart Energy Community (or Smarter Norwich) project on Wednesday 3 July, in association with colleagues at energy consultancy Pixie Energy,

The event, which was part of Community Energy Fortnight 2019, took place at the Union Building on Rose Lane in Norwich. It was attended by over 20 local stakeholders and prospective participants. Organisations present included Verv, REN Energy, Haven Power, Anglian Water, the New Anglia LEP, the Greater South-East Energy Hub, the Solar Trade Association, Norfolk County Council and EEEGR.

The project has already invested in PV at three sites and storage batteries at five others. It is looking to supplement this with output from existing local low-carbon assets and supply it through to local consumers. The eventual aim is to see if the project can assemble a “virtual power plant” in which generation and consumption is matched, and it is based around electricity consumers who actively engage with the market. 

To support the two-and-a-half-year project, a customer engagement group is being set up whereby consumption data will be gathered and analysed using Verv’s smart hub which monitors household energy usage at a granular level using artificial intelligence. Verv hubs have already been earmarked to a mix of domestic (owner occupied, social housing and private rental) properties and five small businesses. Local social housing group Broadlands Housing is also participating in the project. 

The data gathering will start in October 2019. From April 2020 the project will be looking to install further Verv devices and other smart technology and introduce information and real-time price signals that should allow energy use to be reduced and savings to be made. It will also look to support consumers who want to get the best available deal from energy suppliers and from their surplus energy.

The meeting was followed by a reception at the splendid Rooftop Gardens at the Union Building, which already hosts some of the scheme’s solar panels (see picture).