It’s been a tumultuous year for the renewables sector - support has been cut back and the future policy environment remains uncertain. However, in the background, a resilient community in Scotland has been powering on, exploring an innovative local energy model that could lead the way to a smarter, low-carbon energy system.
The SMART Fintry project is using a combination of emerging and market-tested technologies to match electricity usage from residents in the Scottish village of Fintry with the generation from a mix of local renewable electricity generation producers. The aim is to demonstrate a local energy economy which delivers benefits for the community and the environment.
A lot has happened since last year when Good Energy announced our involvement in this pioneering smart grid project…
Following a special launch event at the local sports centre in October 2016, more than a quarter of around 300 households in Fintry have now signed up to get involved, as well as three local renewable generators, including an AD plant and two single turbine wind sites.
These homes have also had smarter electricity meters installed to collect data on how much electricity they are using every half hour.
This household consumption data will be combined with data from local renewable generators and weather stations to forecast when local generation matches the amount of electricity being consumed and when there will be a shortfall or surplus.
The project will use this data to explore different solutions to adjust and balance local generation and demand, to make the village of Fintry more energy self-sufficient. This is what a ‘smart grid’ in action does - balance demand and generation on a local network to reduce reliance on the national grid.
I would definitely encourage the residents of Fintry to sign up - it’s not just for their benefit, it’s for everybody’s benefit.
David Russell, Fintry Resident
In the next few months, a specially designed online platform and time-of-use portal will be launched so customers can see how much energy they are using throughout the day, which local generators are powering residents’ homes, and forecasts of local renewable production. This will give households the ability to take greater control of their electricity consumption and choose to align their behaviour with local generation. Opportunities to control local demand using flexible technologies such as electrical heating and energy storage will also be explored.
In the long run, it is hoped that by reducing the strain on the electricity grid and limiting the network costs that make up around a quarter of the price we all pay for our electricity – more smart, local and renewable energy systems like that being piloted in Fintry will help drive down household energy bills and enable communities to take greater ownership of the power they use in their homes.
As year two of the project gets under way, we’re delighted that the Fintry Local Tariff will be reopening on 24th April. If you’re a resident of Fintry, Good Energy and our project partners will be in touch to let you know how you can be involved too!
SMART Fintry is a two year project funded by The Local Energy Challenge Fund which is managed by Local Energy Scotland on behalf of The Scottish Government.
The SMART Fintry Project is delivered by a consortium of partners: Fintry Development Trust, Veitch Cooper, Energy Assets Good Energy, and Heriot Watt University.