Nottingham’s position at the forefront of energy innovation led to a visit from the Minister of Climate Change today to coincide with the launch of the Government’s Smart Systems policy.

The Minister Claire Perry MP came to Nottingham to meet with researchers at the University of Nottingham to hear about their pioneering work to create smart systems technologies which will change the way the UK stores, manages and consumes energy.

As part of its on-going drive as the UK’s Energy City, Nottingham is the home of several national and international projects focusing on increasing the amount of green energy generated and used locally and the uptake of battery storage.

Nottingham has been the focus of the research and is now the test bed city for piloting this technology at the Trent Basin development. The development is installing Europe’s largest community battery (2MWh) and solar photovoltaics that will generate, store and distribute energy at a neighbourhood level, and launch a unique energy company for residents.

The REMOURBAN project is testing smart systems on around 100 homes managed by Nottingham City Homes’ in Sneinton over two community energy schemes and project SENSIBLE is delivering a scheme in the Meadows to fifteen houses.  Many of these will see the energy bills of fuel poor residents reduce significantly.

Nottingham City Council has started to use batteries on its own sites, the first being at Ken Martin Leisure Centre where a ‘Sonnen’ battery is linked to the solar canopy in the car parked. The battery is storing energy generated during the day and using it to power the operations of the leisure centre in the evening and at night. This will be particularly effective in powering the newly installed LED lighting under the solar canopy itself. The City Council plans to roll out more of these batteries and trial software which allows them to sell excess energy into the national grid at the same time.

The city council is also actively working with the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) battery storage sub-group in refining the model for standalone battery technology. This will allow better management of peak demands on the grid across Nottingham and store energy generated from large scale renewable energy installations. The ability to store energy at this scale will help the city to become less reliant on the national grid in the future.

The government set out is plan to transform how homes and businesses store and use energy.  It aims to deliver a smarter more flexible energy system by removing barriers to smart technology, reducing costs for consumers.

The report, ‘Upgrading our energy system’ describes how the UK energy system is changing and how it can ensure economic benefits for businesses and households. Over a quarter of the UK’s electricity is being generated through renewables such as wind and solar, much of it located close to homes and businesses making it more affordable.

Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry said: “Today, as part of our Industrial Strategy, the Government has launched an ambitious and far reaching plan to prepare our energy system in the future. I was fascinated by the ground breaking research being carried out by the University of Nottingham, which incorporates small energy systems in local housing projects. The plan we published today will help make it even easier for these new technologies to be rolled out across the country”

Councillor Alan Clark, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Energy and Sustainability, said: “Nottingham is at the cutting edge of energy innovation having the right people and infrastructure to get these types of projects off the ground. Trent Basin is one of a significant number of pilot projects for smart energy systems that are bring trialled in Nottingham many of which the council is taking an active role in.  Projects are focusing on increasing the amount of green energy generated and used locally as well as ways to use less energy and tackling fuel poverty. Trent Basin is a great example of how local organisations working together can make a real difference to Nottingham’s energy sector and this growth in community renewable energy will help to sustain our status as the most energy self-sufficient city in the UK.

As well as looking for solutions for domestic energy usage we are also looking at the business case for commercial projects within the city”