Saturday, July 20, 2024

Equans partners with UrbanChain to deliver virtual power plant in Dudley

Project is Europe’s first net zero carbon neighbourhood

Equans, has announced a major boost for its pioneering project in Brockmoor, Dudley, where the company is set to deliver Europe’s first net zero carbon neighbourhood – tackling climate change and fuel poverty in tandem.

Equans will partner with UrbanChain, a peer-to-peer (P2P) energy exchange company and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) to progress with developing and deploying one of the UK’s first Virtual Power Plant’s (VPP) in council-owned building stock to create a pooled energy solution in Brockmoor.

The initiative will integrate solar panels and battery storage across a mix of residential and commercial properties to form a cohesive energy generation and demand management system – enabling tenants to buy cheaper energy through the VPP than purchasing directly from the grid.

The VPP solution will empower communities and asset owners to share 100% clean energy, by integrating blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into a P2P energy exchange. It will flexibly distribute energy and savings to multiple beneficiaries with no upfront capital costs to the local authority or tenant.  The revolutionary method allows Equans to create revenue streams to unlock private finance or simply supplement the revenue stream of its partners – local authorities for reinvestment in other projects or services.

Equans previously secured £1.65 million in funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), for the wider net zero neighbourhood, which will act as a pilot to seek a scalable solution for decarbonising neighbourhoods across all seven local authority areas in the West Midlands, while supporting efforts to combat fuel poverty.

Colin Macpherson, Divisional CEO for Equans UK & Ireland, commented: “We are pleased to be working with UrbanChain, who share our vision of making green energy affordable and putting communities first.  Together, we hope to unlock capital for the council so it can continue its bold journey of decarbonising, while improving lives.

“This is a truly innovative and groundbreaking project. As well as the promise of reducing carbon emissions, it has the potential of spearheading a step change in energy supply; but more importantly, it has the capability of making real inroads to combat fuel poverty.”

Dr. Somayeh Taheri, CEO of UrbanChain said: “This collaboration represents a significant milestone in our mission to address fuel poverty and provide a return on investment for local authorities and communities committed to making a lasting impact. We are excited to showcase how our innovative technology can play a crucial role in transforming energy management and sustainability at the community level.”

Work on the net zero carbon neighbourhood is already underway and will continue over the next two years.

This article appeared in the June 2024 issue of Energy Manager magazine. Subscribe here.

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