Energy and regeneration specialist, ENGIE, together with a diverse consortium of partners, has been awarded a two-year demonstrator project to design a new zero carbon smart energy system for the Staffordshire town of Rugeley.
The ENGIE-led consortium will create the design of a Smart Local Energy System (SLES) that will demonstrate how such a system can reduce carbon and energy costs for residents, whilst providing a catalyst for town regeneration and employment creation.
The Rugeley SLES is intended to bring benefits to both the town and the future residents of the proposed mixed-use development at the former Rugeley Power Station site, where ENGIE plans to deliver more than 2,000 new low carbon homes, including later living communities, as well as a substantial number of commercial buildings.
The SLES aims to present an innovative, replicable and scalable energy solution – with new energy business models, local energy marketplaces and inclusive design offering benefits to the surrounding community. It is hoped that the scheme will help in establishing a standard for many similar places in the UK to transition to zero carbon.
Rugeley is also a proposed Energy Innovation Zone, which will allow further new approaches to energy distribution to be trialled in the town.
Chris Langdon, Development Director at ENGIE, said: “The SLES project has enabled us to create an inclusive, exciting and capable consortium to support the regeneration and growth of Rugeley, and provides a unique addition to our work in reimagining and repurposing the former Rugeley Power Station.
“We will collaborate closely with our partners to ensure success as we seek to accompany the communities of Rugeley towards a zero carbon future with improved wellbeing.”
Nicola Lovett, CEO of ENGIE UK, added: “We are delighted to be leading this project with such a diverse and progressive group of partners. Collaborations such as these are fundamental to our innovation strategy – using collective thinking to solve the UK’s biggest challenges.
“The project is perfectly aligned with our broader strategy of making the zero carbon transition a reality for UK places and businesses. It will add to the community benefits from the development of the former power station and create a blueprint for scalable, replicable, energy system retrofit solutions for a lower carbon UK.”
SLES consortium members – which include Keele University (with its Smart Energy Network Demonstrator), Connected Places Catapult, West Midlands Combined Authority, utility company Cadent, technology companies (Opus One Solutions, Conigital) and not-for-profit organisations (Chase Community Solar, the Sustainable Housing Action Partnership, Regen and the New Vic Theatre) – bring a wide variety of specialisms to the project. These members are developing various aspects of the scheme
The consortium has contributed £1.5 million to the demonstrator project, which will be boosted by a further £1.4 million of match funding from Innovate UK.
The funding secured is part of the UK Government’s £21 million Detailed Design of Smart Local Energy Systems programme, part of a wider Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme called Prospering from the Energy Revolution. It aims to create a pipeline of highly innovative, ambitious and investable local UK energy systems that will be ready to roll out across the country over the next decade. These energy systems will support the UK’s objective to limit global warming and the impacts of climate change.
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