Market Tech Innovations

Open Utility develop Selectricity: peer-to-peer matched energy

Open Utility (now known as Piclo) are one of Lux Nova’s long standing clients and we are proud to have assisted them with their market leading and transformational projects in the distributed energy market. Clean energy innovators, Piclo have been developing smart software solutions to address a number of energy market failures, including the ability to trade energy locally and to enable broader access to the grid flexibility and capacity market (see [link to Pixlo Flex study]).

In August 2016, Piclo launched Selectricity with Good Energy, an innovative P2P platform for renewable energy, where electricity supply and demand are matched between renewable generators and consumers on a half hourly basis, enabling renewable generators to promote their projects and consumers to select tranches of output from their preferred generations sources to construct their own generation portfolio, via an AirBnB-style platform. Consumers using the product include Eden Project in Cornwall.

We worked with Piclo to help design the legal framework for the platform and govern the relationship with commercial partners, including Good Energy and have continued to support them in the negotiation of contracts with their commercial partners, including with licensed utilities in Italy and the Netherlands.

Community Energy Scotland’s collective power purchase project

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We worked with Community Energy Scotland (CES) on their Tower Power, Dumbiedykes project. Dumbiedykes is a small urban neighbourhood in Edinburgh, consisting of residential housing blocks with a mix of occupants, however known to be a deprived area with a high percentage of residents vulnerable or in fuel poverty.

Tower Power (a not for profit, run by Community Energy Scotland), aimed to establish a roof top solar power project, plus a bulk power purchasing scheme under a smart metering arrangement, in order to assist individual residents’ management of demand and to leverage better retail sale prices for electricity from suppliers. CES also wanted advice on an interim collective electricity tariff switching scheme for residential customers, in order to obtain the best possible tariff for residents.

We explored the regulatory and contractual basis on which collectively electricity tariff switching scheme could be established by Tower Power in the role of “TPI” (Third Party Intermediary, switching on behalf of a group of consumers). Tower Power has gone on to successfully fundraise for the scheme, receiving £821,200 from the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund. It is hoped that all 670 homes within the development will be able to benefit, while a co-operative will be established in the community to manage the scheme.

Outer Hebrides ESCO

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Lux Nova undertook a project for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles Council in Scotland, to analyse the potential to utilise local renewable and low carbon assets for local energy supply and exploring alternative models of electricity supply, distribution and purchase. 

This project was focused on developing the potential for the Outer Hebrides community to purchase a proportion of energy generation from local renewable energy generators (at the time, mostly wind energy). The aim was to create a community owned Energy Supply Company (ESCO) to retail this electricity to the local market at a competitive price. By making a connection between local generation and local consumption, an Outer Hebrides ESCO was envisioned as enabling the utilisation of renewable energy to directly reduce fuel poverty levels.

Simultaneously, it was anticipated that this would allow for an exploration of the potential for innovative solutions in local energy management, supply and storage, to reduce grid connection costs and the carbon footprint of the Outer Hebrides. 

Together with the other consultants engaged on the project, we concluded that an ESCO of this nature is viable within the Outer Hebrides, offering both economic and environmental benefits. We hope that our recommendations will be taken forward and a body of this nature established to benefit the local population.

West African PPA training

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One of our pathfinder projects in developing markets, Lux Nova analysed the renewable energy support frameworks in the ECOWAS region of West Africa, taking learnings from identified gaps in the market to design and deliver 4 weeks of in-depth training on bankable renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements.

This assignment was delivered as part of IRENA’s (the International Renewable Energy Agency), wide reaching programmes which are aiming to increase the uptake of renewable energy in developing markets by training Government and Utility officials in best practice.

The assignment saw Lux Nova lead a team of legal, commercial and financial consultants to undertake the analysis and subsequent in-country training, to relevant government departments and utility companies across the 15 ECOWAS countries. This took place in French (in Cote D’Ivoire) and English (in Ghana) during 4 weeks across May and July 2018 and was very well received by delegates. Following learnings from the training and feedback from delegates, we also set out recommendations for IRENA to take forward further capacity training within the region.

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This was a great opportunity to help up-skill local capacity in the region, enabling the faster deployment of renewable energy and we hope to continue our work with IRENA to deliver the recommended next steps which include the analysis for inter-country trading of power, off-grid projects and more detailed procurement design.