The first phase of a project being delivered by Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS), the Glasgow-based energy software specialist, and involving technology giants O2 and Siemens, has gone live.
The Thames Valley Live Lab – which brings the companies together with engineering consultancy Stantec, the University of Reading and six local authorities – will help local authorities to implement their required moves towards net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
The project partnership was awarded £4.5 million in 2019 as part of the ADEPT (Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport) SMART Places Live Labs Programme, a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway, and WSP. Local authorities are working on eight projects across England to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.
The platform has gone live this month (August 2020) with energy assets from the first two councils – Reading Borough Council and Wokingham Borough Council – connecting to the system in the coming two months. The platform will monitor and manage solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and other flexible electrical equipment at the local authorities’ facilities. The Live Labs system is based on SGS’s ANM Strata fleet distributed energy resources management system (DERMS) to create the Smart Energy Operations Platform (SEOP).
The cloud-based SEOP will schedule when the assets should be operated to save money, reduce CO2 emissions, and manage local authority owned Distributed Energy Resources (DER) across the sites. Functionalities include setting EV charge rates and being able to remotely schedule building energy usage and EV charging point operation.
Data will also be fed into other parts of the Thames Valley Live Lab project, which cover health, mobility, and transport.
SGS expects the data from the energy component of the project to influence those other important service areas in the Live Lab project.
Graham Ault, executive director and co-founder of SGS, said: “A big challenge lies ahead for local authority energy managers, who will have to plan, implement, and operate net-zero carbon energy in the coming years.
“Our ANM Strata platform provides the basis to manage and track net-zero energy, while underpinning cost savings through better power grid integration and new energy market opportunities including new technical services, network flexibility, and system balancing.
“SGS’s mission is to provide the software systems to address the three Ds of energy systems – decarbonisation, decentralization, and digitalisation.
“This Thames Valley Live Lab brings together all three of those strands, allowing carbon-free electricity generated on-site by solar panels to be controlled and used for emission free transport using digital technology.It is now possible to scale low carbon technology deployments up to really significant levels and capture all the energy and flexibility benefits for a local authority area.”
Simon Beasley, network and parking manager at Reading Borough Council and Live Lab project lead, added: “Having a system that can control when and how solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and other energy assets operate is a game changer.
“We’ll be able to save money, reduce our CO2 emissions, and better manage our energy across our sites.
“The data that will be generated by this part of the project will also play a wider role in improving the lives of people living and working in Reading and the surrounding area.
“Having this rich data on our energy assets will help to influence how we develop the transport, mobility, and even health areas of the Live Lab project and local authority operations thereafter.”
Giles Perkins, Programme Director for Live Labs, said: “This is an exciting development as the links between mobility, energy, and other assets will only get stronger as we transition to an electric future – taking an integrated approach to how we manage these systems is crucial for a sustainable future.”
The four other participating councils – Bracknell Forest Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor, Slough Borough Council, and West Berks Council – will connect assets to the project over the course of the coming year.
News of the Thames Valley Live Lab going live is the latest in string of ANM Strata Fleet DERMS and virtual power station projects for SGS, including its recently-announced partnership with SSE Enterprise, a large community energy flexibility scheme in Oxfordshire and a smart local energy systems design initiative in Peterborough.
About ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme
The ADEPT SMART Places Programme is a five-year project examining and developing innovation to enable the adoption of innovative and digital technology across the local highway network. The initial research report ‘Digital Innovation: The route to the highways systems of the future’ was published in October 2017. In January 2019, ADEPT secured £22.9m funding from the Department of Transport for Phase 3 of the programme, which will see the development of eight individual Live Labs projects led by local authorities with university and private sector partners. The Live Labs are piloting innovation across SMART communications, transport, highways maintenance, energy, materials and mobility.
The ADEPT SMART Places programme has been developed with partners: SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway, and WSP.
The latest information on Live Labs can be found here: https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/livelabs
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) represents ‘Directors of Place’ from county, unitary, metropolitan and combined authorities along with directors of local enterprise partnerships, sub-national transport bodies and corporate partners drawn from key service sectors. ADEPT members are at the very heart of maximising clean sustainable growth, delivering the projects that are fundamental to creating more resilient communities, economies and infrastructure. Over 14.7 million households in England – and two thirds of the population – rely on services provided by ADEPT members. These services include housing, environmental and regulatory services, planning, economic development, culture and highways and transport. The Association represents members' interests by proactively engaging central Government on emerging policy & issues, responding to consultations and enquiries, and promoting initiatives and research aimed at influencing Government policy.
For more information on ADEPT please visit the website: www.adeptnet.org.uk
Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) is a leading provider of distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software with the company about to exceed 1.3GW of renewable generation, energy storage and flexible load under control through 2019. With offices in New York, Glasgow, and California, SGS is a global solutions provider to distribution utilities and distributed energy resource operators.
About ANM Strata
ANM Strata is Smarter Grid Solutions’ world-leading enterprise solution for utilities and renewable generation operators. With its unique real-time control platform it delivers sub-second, precise control of renewable and other energy assets across a wide area from a centralized location.
About ANM Element
ANM Element is Smarter Grid Solutions’ local control solution managing a smaller number of low carbon technologies in a local area in both local grid connection management and behind-the-meter operating modes. ANM Element can also integrate seamlessly into an ANM Strata system for wider asset control.