Tom Keighley

South West firms collaborate on local energy markets

Two South West firms have launched a partnership to investigate how to link local energy producers with local consumers.

Engineering and commercial consultancy Swanbarton and IT services firm, IPL, are working as a consortium, awarded funding for a government sponsored feasibility into local energy markets.

Entitled ‘Local Energy Markets Modelling and Analysis’ (LEMMA), the project is one of 30 feasibility studies that have received a total of £2m of funding from the Technology Strategy Board.

It is the first, exploratory, phase of a new four-year programme of government investment that aims to develop new technologies to help integrate future demand and energy supply into a flexible, secure and resilient energy system.

IPL and Swanbarton have defined a local energy market as a framework for managing the integration of locally-generated energy with the various distribution networks and the financial modelling that underpins the entire activity.

Neil Morgan, Head of Energy at the Technology Strategy Board, said: “We are delighted to support the joint proposal from Swanbarton and IPL.

“Their examination of the viability of Local Energy Markets has the potential to lead to both lower energy costs and a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide. We look forward to seeing the results of the study.”

The aim of the study is to develop an innovative approach to power distribution, and address the challenges in enabling localised energy generators to interact with local energy market to buy and sell between regional consumers and other generators and distributors.

IPL will examine the various process models and information structures that will support the programme, while Swanbarton will assess the infrastructure requirements for storing energy locally and distributing it throughout the network, and the legislative considerations surrounding its storage.

Emma Goodwin, Divisional Director for Telecoms and Utilities at IPL, continues: “National energy consumption continues to rise year on year, making efficient energy production and distribution management absolutely vital, not only for environmental reasons, but also in order to ensure there is enough power available at all times.

“Feasibility studies such as this are therefore vital in ensuring that measured and calculated on-going plans can be put in place and are sufficiently robust and long-term to be of tangible and substantial value.”

Anthony Price, Director of Swanbarton concludes: “Collaborating with IPL, bringing together their information management expertise and our knowledge of the energy sector, will bring huge benefits to consumers and the industry alike.

“By quantifying the benefits of Local Energy Markets and identifying practical methodologies to make the plans a reality, savings in energy network operational costs can be targeted, along with substantial contributions to the national reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.”

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