Smarter Norwich

The East Anglia Market Innovation Programme (EMIP) developed by Pixie Energy has been exploring multi-party solutions to supporting local energy market developments for over three years, building a deep knowledge of local conditions that can vary widely and local stakeholders even across East Anglia. The programme is now moving from analysis and building understanding to scoping real-world pilots or demonstrators.

The EMIP projects are based on different local suppliers and different combinations of technology dependent on local conditions and consumer appetite, and the deep relationships we have developed with a wide range of local stakeholders. They will be consumer-centric supporting engagement, allowing householders and businesses to share in the benefits of their own responsiveness to changes in price and flexibility. 

The Greater Norwich Smart Energy Community (GNSEC) (#smarternorwich) is at an advanced stage of scooping by New Anglia Energy and was launched on 3 July 2019. We have assembled a coalition of respected parties with local interests who are eager to take the project forward, and these include Verv, RENEnergy, Haven Power, Anglian Water, Infinis, Pixie Energy and others. Norwich City Council, Norfolk County Council, the New Anglia LEP, the Greater South Eastern Energy Hub and the University of East Anglia are also engaging with the project.

Through New Anglia Energy we already have a number of sites with technology – PVs and storage batteries – in situ that will provide a core model that will allow early start in October 2019, and the aim is to add to these as we move through the project.

We have also set up a consumer engagement group, which will form our initial research base comprising a mix of local businesses but mostly householders (owner occupier, social housing and private renters). Initially this will comprise 50 locations. Each site will be fitted with a Verv smart hub, which monitors household energy usage at a granular level using artificial intelligence. These devices will be used in the first phase of the project October 2019 to April 2020 to gather baseline data on usage patterns and consumer changes. 

The project is envisaged to run for a minimum of two and a half years, and over this period it will be scaled locally, evolving we hope into in effect a local “virtual power plant” matching local generation and demand. We will also work with participants to understand their usage and make savings by changing behaviour in response to time of use pricing backed up with half hourly settlement. We will also help them get the best deals for both energy supply and any power exports.

Once the project goes live from 1 April 2020, we also intend to introduce smart EV charging and other smart devices.

It will also after and successful establishment look to implement changes that will enable trialling of GB’s first local market incorporating multiple trading relationships through the implementation of “meter splitting” and unbundled supplies irrespective of whether industry change proposal P379 is approved and when.

The development of other local projects under the EMIP programme, including around the Norwich Western Research Cluster and the Ipswich Ransome’s Park micro-grid should enable scoping and development of a regional trading platform supporting decentralised balancing by non-traditional suppliers and technology players.

Last updated 8 July 2019