Trent Basin, a new development in Nottingham, is about to set the bar for community energy schemes as it prepares to install Europe’s largest community battery (2MWh), and solar photovoltaics that will generate, store and distribute energy at a neighbourhood level, and launch a unique energy company for residents.
A trailblazing consortium of business, government and academia has come together, supported by Innovate UK, to pilot state-of-the-art technologies and unique business models. The pilot will demonstrate how to lower cost and reduce carbon whilst allowing residents to better engage with the energy they consume.
Homeowners at Trent Basin will be invited to participate in the project and, by opting in, will look to make significant savings in energy costs. Technologies to be employed include photovoltaic panels, communal battery and heat stores and ground source heat pumps.
The team at Focus Consultants is involved in the new housing development by Blueprint on the banks of the River Trent, having been project manager, energy and sustainability advisor, and contract administrator for phase one of the scheme.
Partner Keith Butler said: “As the project managers and energy advisors for the Trent Basin scheme, Focus Consultants are very pleased to be part of this development which is pioneering the way homes and communities receive their energy and could have huge implications for the future.”
The project; research, technology and installation; in planning for three years, is being supported by £6m of grant funding from Innovate UK via two Energy Programmes, The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and Project SCENe (Sustainable Community Energy Networks). A formidable consortium of partners has come together to deliver the scheme, including Blueprint, The University of Nottingham, AT Kearney, Smartklub, Siemens, URBED, Slam Jam, Sticky World, Loughborough University, Solar Ready and supported by Nottingham City Council.
Blueprint is an award-winning public private partnership committed to the development of sustainable homes and workspaces. Chief Executive, Nick Ebbs, commented:
“Technologies now exist that mean we can deliver community energy in a way that can bring real benefits to consumers and significantly reduce carbon. The barrier to adoption has been the complexity of putting consumers, new technologies and business models together in a way that makes it all work. That is why Innovate UK is supporting this pilot. We feel privileged to be involved in such a ground-breaking initiative.
“The distribution system will be connected to the grid and, in addition to drawing renewable energy from community sources, will be able to buy power from the grid when it has surplus and redistribute to meet demand. There is a need to find ways to store energy typically at night when demand is slack, smoothing out the peaks and troughs of supply and demand.
“The way we generate and distribute energy in the UK is inefficient and carbon intensive. It doesn’t have to be like this. With new technologies, especially in renewable energy and storage it is possible to do better.”
The Community Energy project is being developed by industry and an academic team headed up by Professor Mark Gillott, Professor of Sustainable Building Design, Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Nottingham.
Residents that opt into the scheme will have photovoltaic panels installed on their roofs, and be provided with smart meters and voice controlled speakers for access to live data on energy created, stored and consumed. An urban solar panel farm will also be installed on the areas of the site yet to be developed and as houses are built, panels transferred to each home. Trent Basin will grow through five phases to create a new neighbourhood of 500 homes. Subsequent investment will include ground source heat pumps which will generate heat for local storage, distribution and use. Clean, green energy for the pumps will be sourced from the photovoltaic panels and community battery.
Trent Basin is a £100 million residential development which is part of the 250-acre Waterside Regeneration area in Nottingham. Phase One, completed at the end of 2016, comprises 45 low energy homes including eight apartments. Just four homes now remain for sale and construction on Phase Two will start later this year.
Further details about the development can be found at www.trentbasin.co.uk