Local firms offered support for energy-saving ideas

The University’s Built Environment Climate Change Innovations (BECCI) project team are working with housing provider Accord Group to find the leading innovative “smart grid” businesses in the West Midlands.

Accord Group, together with BECCI - a project partnership between the Universities of Wolverhampton and Coventry, supported by the European Regional Development Fund - have put forward a challenge to local firms to present their ideas and designs for smart grids, with £250,000 funding on offer to fit out 50 existing properties with smart grid products over the coming year.

The Smart Grid Challenge aims to encourage ideas and innovations that will help reduce electrical demand from the grid in existing housing, which in turn will deliver reductions in CO2 emissions.

This could be achieved through reducing the average as well as peak demand in homes, or groups of homes, energy storage technology, the supply of small scale district electrical supply as well as the innovative use by Energy Service Companies (ESCO) to manage energy supply, delivery, distribution and billing.

This challenge is also aimed at helping West Midland businesses to improve the quality of data communications within the home as well as with the utility companies.

Paul White, Accord Project Manager said: “One of the key elements of the project is for 50 smart grid systems to be installed in individual dwellings to better understand and manage energy supply and demand opportunities for local networks.

“To achieve this, £250,000 has been allocated to fund the work on 50 properties over the next 12 months. We see this commercial opportunity as a great incentive”

Currently homes generate poor quality data with very limited ability to balance electrical demand. There is also the question of how to link up, manage and control multiple homes in any one district.

Robert Stuart, BECCI Knowledge Transfer Manager said: “The vast bulk of electrical usage within homes is supplied from the main grid.

“The UK’s electricity demand profiles will change over the coming years with increases in consumption within the home as well as from the expected electrification of rail and even car transport resulting in more extreme daily peaks.

“If through the challenge we can help mitigate these variations, then as a region we will all be in a better position to manage our energy usage”

The closing date for applications is March 24. 

A shortlisting event of the best ideas will held on 21 April with the selected companies making a formal presentation on 6 May.

For more information and to request an application pack please contact Robert Stuart on 01902 322284 or by email robert.stuart@wlv.ac.uk

ENDS

Date Issued: Wednesday, February 19 2014

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