First Local Energy Trading Market Launched on Orkney Islands

Posted: 04 May 2020

The innovative companies behind Project TraDER have taken a local market for excess power live on the Orkney islands, successfully delivering real-time trading between renewable generation and local flexibility.

Monday 4 May 2020, London

Project TraDER has recently taken the first steps in demonstrating how a market-based approach to reducing curtailment of renewable generation can deliver real value to local communities. 

Led by EnTech firm Electron, project TraDER has delivered a market solution to the Orkney Islands, an area known for both high renewable energy generation and curtailment. TraDER introduces a market layer to bring generators and flexible assets together more efficiently and reduce the levels of curtailment. Current trading on the Electron platform is actively resolving grid congestion, reducing wasted renewable power, and lowering consumer bills in the Orkney Islands. To-date, the trading platform has seen over 1300 trades in its demonstration region. 

Amidst reports of 10-20% decreases in power demand due to COVID-19, many are calling the current lock-down a glimpse into the Net Zero future, bringing forward the challenges of mass renewable curtailment and rising grid congestion. With the success of this market, TraDER offers the first step in a joint solution for long-term decarbonisation, one that actively benefits distribution networks, local renewable power, and flexible demand alike. 

Conor Maher-McWilliams, Head of Flexibility at Kaluza commented: “Despite Orkney’s small size, this project milestone could have a profound impact on the whole of the UK’s energy system. Enabling community-owned turbines to keep turning – by storing their renewable energy in Kaluza- optimised heaters – means residents are heating their homes with cheaper electricity and preventing renewable energy from going to waste. We are excited to progress Project TraDER and demonstrate the scalability of its approach for the benefit of the wider grid as the UK transitions to a decarbonised, more flexible energy future.” 

“We believe that coordinating national price signals with local grid requirements is absolutely key to maximising the incentive for local flexibility to come online and, in turn, enabling the zero carbon grid,” says Jo-Jo Hubbard, Electron’s CEO. “Moreover, the more we see negative national electricity prices, the faster we need a solution that ensures that this does not disturb grid resilience at a local level. We believe that this is the first multi-sided local marketplace that actually affects the physical flow of power and brings more zero carbon, zero marginal cost power online, and we are thrilled to be working with our TraDER partners and the engaged community of Orkney to make this happen.” 

Mark Hull, Head of Innovation at CES: “A great early achievement for TraDER! Facing a future of smart energy systems, many of the wider societal issues that will need to be addressed to more actively manage distribution rely heavily on local solutions in our own communities and homes. More than just being compatible with national systems, we recognise that the new technology being embedded in familiar items that surround us can become key assets. When linked to new and existing local community activity, they are further strengthened; and become essential to any just transition.” 

The work of BEIS-funded project TraDER expands the success of Heat Smart Orkney and SMILE in proving the technical capabilities of consumer devices and responding to network signals to help manage grid congestion. Next steps of the project will continue to expand through integration with the active network management system to bring more parties online, with the ultimate aim to aggregate local and national markets. Project TraDER brings together the consortium of Electron, Community Energy Scotland, CGI, EDF, Elexon, Energy Systems Catapult, Kaluza (an OVO Group company) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. For more information on TraDER or the Electron platform please email comms@electron.org.uk.

ABOUT KALUZA

Kaluza is OVO Group’s intelligent energy platform able to connect and control millions of smart devices across people’s homes, such as electric vehicles, heaters and batteries. The platform uses machine learning and AI to create a more flexible energy system, optimising devices to use energy off-peak, when costs and carbon levels are lower. Working with a range of industry-leading hardware manufacturers, energy suppliers and grid operators, Kaluza is driving the global transition to a distributed and secure, zero-carbon grid.

ABOUT ELECTRON

Electron is a London-based energy technology company engaged in designing & building the digital infrastructure that will enable the transition to cheaper, cleaner power. They are developing near real-time marketplaces for curtailment and location based flexibility, alongside the underlying asset register that allows these markets to coexist and remain coordinated.

The Electron platform enables:

  • Network & system operators: to manage the intermittency, congestion & power quality challenges presented by increasing renewable penetration;
  • Asset owners, operators & traders: to access better price signals, additional revenue streams and opportunities to ‘stack’ those revenue streams;
  • Retailers and aggregators: to develop differentiated service models for their customers and hedge risks with better granularity;
  • Consumers to benefit from the lower system costs and carbon emissions that result from making better use of existing energy and network assets.

Founded in 2015, Electron is internationally recognised as a leader in its field, having been named a 2017 World Economic Forum “Technology Pioneer”, and recently a “Cleantech 100” company. Electron currently operates in three countries, working alongside utilities, regulators and other technology providers to bring flexibility and coordination to energy grids.

For more information on Electron please visit www.electron.org.uk

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