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Cornwall LEM paves way for smart energy solutions

Tom Andrews Senior Analyst

The Cornwall Local Energy Market (LEM) is a £19mn project that is led and part-funded by Centrica. The three-year programme is exploring flexible smart energy solutions to the issue of a regionally constrained electricity network. Why Cornwall? Local energy markets are expected to drive and support the deployment of additional flexibility resources on the GB networks. The National Infrastructure Commission suggested in March 2016 that smart power could save £8bn in meeting its 2050 decarbonisation targets, which is probably conservative. Cornwall was selected as a location for this trial due to the amount of renewable generation in the county, which has filled all available network capacity. This leaves new generation looking to connect with high grid costs. The local market approach is intended to support the local distribution network and reduce the overall cost of energy. It is taking a multi-vector approach, incorporating flexibility elements both through traditional central markets and through a partnership with energy technology company LO3 to deploy a blockchain to enable peer-to-peer trading. Unlike other trials which have looked at, the potential to trade wholesale energy, the core focus is to develop trading in flexibility and services. If successful, the project should deliver important learnings that will be transferrable to other regional markets across GB and beyond. Project partners Key project partners are: Centrica, which is leading the trial and contributing £6mn, and through Centrica Business Solutions is delivering the physical installations Western Power Distribution (WPD), which is developing the software solution to help identify ...

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