Nigel Cornwall issues first monthly update on innovative New Anglia Energy project

This is my first monthly update on my New Anglia Energy project following my departure from Cornwall Insight. The website has now been active for a short while. The site itself is being “fed” regularly, with three or themed news stories being posted six days a week. I am also tweeting actively in support of it, and have quickly built up over 600 followers, including many industry “names”. Traffic through the site is building nicely, and I have had quite a bit of positive feedback.

The key focuses are decentralisation, decarbonisation, democratisation and digitalisation with regard to local initiatives and developments in the rich East Anglian low-carbon, high-tech economy. But anything around local markets, energy governance, innovation and new technology, fuel poverty and customer engagement, electrification of heat and transport are within scope. The idea is that the site and contributors to it provide thought leadership and challenge to contextualise the individual projects I take forward in Norfolk.

I also post my Five Minute Update on the site each week looking back at the main developments of the previous week that impact on my focus areas. These are also on LinkedIn and I am getting a high and growing level of reads and likes.

We will be developing the New Angia Energy site over the coming weeks. Two particular improvements will be made. First we will develop the blog coverage both by us and other respected sector commentators. Second, there will be a new gallery section, which will build up a picture library of notable local energy projects.

Some projects involving New Anglia Energy are already emerging, and include:

  • Smarter Norwich, and my consumer engagement project, which will involve installation of 50 Verv smart energy assistant device in the Greater Norwich area. We already have agreement from 50 householders (a mix of privately owned, privately rented and social housing participants) and a handful of small businesses to install the devices and access and analyse the data. This will look at today’s usage and how this can be unbundled and how the information can be used to enable better engagement with the market for those who wish. We will then consider with the participants how time of use pricing and half hourly settlement.
  • Project partners include Verv Energy, Broadlands Housing, and Green Home Energy Solutions. We are exploring with the Energy System Catapult how the project might interface with its Living Lab workstream. We are also exploring with the University of East Anglia how the data and research can feed into a wider engagement exercise to understand different consumer opinions on the market.
  • This project is at the advanced scoping stage, and it will go live in October. We will also look to increase the participant base next year.
  • A similar Smarter Prosumer project, which will see further smart assessment devices installed in mixed technology sites (PV, storage battery, EV charge points). Again we are looking at a minimum of 50 sites but with a wider geographical spread. This project is at the advanced scoping stage, and it will go live later this year with a view to gathering real data from 1 April 2020 onwards.
  • As well as the Smarter Norwich participants, we are working with Norwich Community Solar and Green Home Energy Solutions.
  • In support of the “smarter local markets” projects, we have installed small-scale solar at three local sites, and five batteries are also to be located. We have just placed an order for three EV chargers, and are looking to double this number of sites over the next six months.
  • We are scoping with the University of East Anglia how the data from all these sites can be “mined” and utilised within a research project that will contribute to a better understanding of engagement by different consumer archetypes and the impact of the use of technology.
  • P379 and my BSC rule change proposal to enable meter splitting and multiple trading relationships. The change proposal has been under assessment by an industry workgroup since January and is due to report early 2020. It is considering how to identify the necessary information flows and how party agent roles might be flexed. While the working group meetings are very well populated and discussions very lively with widely diverging views on the merits of the mod, the assessment is proceeding well with two possible operational solutions being tested. Consultation on the proposed solution will take place later this year.
  • We are scoping a potential funding application for assessment work for repurposing a closed landfill gas site for solar/battery use and developing a basic associated local rural EV charging infrastructure
  • We are investigating a community-based innovation trial that looks at sharing of network access rights around the Norwich Western Cluster.
  • We are exploring if we support a potential local hydro renovation scheme, and

We are exploring opportunities of closer working with Norwich Community Solar, Sunrise Community Energy and other local community energy groups in East Anglia.

Exciting times!

Nigel Cornwall

28 August