Centrica’s Local Energy Market in Cornwall gets real

The firm has begun installing physical infrastructure such as batteries and solar panels

By Jonny Bairstow

The physical infrastructure making up Centrica’s Local Energy Market (LEM) in Cornwall is now being installed.

The £19 million project will install battery and solar technology in 100 homes to test a virtual marketplace, allowing participants to trade energy and flexibility to the grid and the wholesale energy market.

Participating households will benefit from free technologies allowing them to both generate and store electricity – the technology will be provided by German smart energy storage supplier sonnen.

Any power generated during the day and not used will be used to either charge batteries or be automatically fed back into the grid, depending on energy prices and demand at the time.

Local Distribution Network Operator Western Power Distribution will buy extra power when it is needed, allowing it to increase supply and reduce demand during peak times.

Donna Cooper, Centrica’s Residential Energy Project Manager for the Cornwall LEM, said: “The LEM is a milestone project not just for Centrica but for the industry as a whole and this is a significant sign of progress.

“We expect this to reduce householders’ electricity bills, whilst also supporting greater uptake of renewables on the local grid.”