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Low Carbon Communities

Background

Low Carbon Communities is an initiative launched by Bridgend County Borough Council to empower local communities to produce and share renewable electricity amongst participating households whilst helping to fight the climate crisis. The council is developing a pioneering demonstration project that investigates how to set up low carbon communities and create local energy markets trading in locally produced and consumed renewable energy for the benefits of local residents.

This demonstration project will trial a community-based energy market. A small number of households wishing to participate in the project will be provided with solar panels or solar-based ventilation, and other hardware and software to explore the potential to share the benefits and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions including carbon.

The Low Carbon Communities Initiative is being developed by the council in conjunction with several partners: Challoch Energy, Nuvision Energy (Wales) Ltd and Passiv UK.

Challoch Energy is a low carbon energy consultancy assisting organisations in responding to energy and environmental challenges. Challoch will be overseeing the installation of the solar panels and batteries to understand how a local energy market could be used to help a community share the benefits of locally produced renewable electricity.

Nuvision, a south Wales based company will be installing an innovative solar ventilation system within homes along with an air quality monitoring system. After first undertaking pre-installation surveys by their professional field staff, the equipment will be fitted by their trained installers. Throughout the trial period, brief interviews will be carried out with homeowners to gain their feedback on the system and to advise on improvements where possible.

Passiv is a specialist in low-carbon technology and has developed unique capabilities in home energy management. As part of this project, Passiv will be building detailed simulations of the village electricity system  to understand how a local energy market can be used to help the community engage with the wider energy system

How will it work?

Solar panels or solar-based ventilation will be fitted to a small number of houses in the chosen village. In addition, batteries will be installed in some houses and others connected to the local power grid to help balance the supply and demand of power within the community. The project will investigate how electricity produced can potentially be shared with the other members of the Low Carbon Community.

The partners will use findings from these installations along with digital simulations of the village to help understand how a local energy market can help the community to transition to a low carbon future.

South Cornelly LEM phase 3 graphic transcript

Progress

South Cornelly has been chosen as the site for the first Low Carbon Communities demonstration, and homeowners within the village will shortly be invited to take part in the trial. Its location and structure make it ideal for the following reasons:

  • the village is geographically distinct, without any ribbon development
  • the village is electrically distinct – served by one substation in the middle of the village (all housing is fed from here)
  • the village contains houses with the right orientation for solar energy
  • the village is a manageable size for the demonstration project

Latest news

The council along with consortium members are in the process of finalising the community engagement strategy and will shortly be looking for interested households to sign up to the demonstration project.

The demonstration project will be trialled in South Cornelly.

In the first instance it will include a small number of mixed households with the following criteria:

  • homes with south, east or west facing roofs – to have solar panels installed
  • homes that already have solar panels
  • some homes with no solar panels to include in the mix with home energy management systems

This is a pioneering demonstration project and by being a part of it, you will be helping to decarbonise South Cornelly in the first instance and if successful, other parts of Wales as well. Benefits will include:

  • free installation of equipment
  • use of an increased percentage of renewable electricity
  • more control over your own electricity supply

The urgent need to act to address the impact of the climate crisis is familiar to all of us and increasingly, people are asking themselves:

“Yes, but what can we actually do, right here and now, in our own communities, to help?”

The council is working hard to provide an answer with the aim to make the county borough a decarbonised, digitally connected region that works for its inhabitants through its Low Carbon Communities initiatives. This demonstration project will provide vital information as to how a local energy market can work in a local community such as South Cornelly.

If successful, it will be rolled out across the county borough and beyond.

How to participate

We will be visiting South Cornelly on the 24 September (between 14:00 – 18:00) and 25 September (between 10:00 – 14:00) to chat about the project and answer any questions you may have.
You will have the opportunity to get involved and sign up on-site.

Alternatively, you can sign up by sending an email to simon.minett@challoch-energy.com

Funding

Bridgend County Borough Council has been successful in obtaining funding from the Welsh Government through its Whole Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation (WBRID) based on Small Business Research Initiative principles.

Contact

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