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Local energy project gets funding green light

Switch2 Energy has been selected as a partner in Project Rewire-NW, which has won a share of £21m of funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for 10 ground-breaking smart UK energy projects.

Richard Slee, chief executive of Switch2 Energy.

Rewire-NW, which is led by community energy and sustainability charity Pure Leapfrog, will design a smart local energy system for Warrington, which has the future potential to be rolled out beyond Cheshire to other parts of the UK.

The £2.8m, two-year project will be jointly funded by UKRI and the 12 project partners, who have been drawn from across the energy industry, local government and academia. Together, they will assess ways of optimising the current energy infrastructure in Warrington, and bring forward proposals to adapt it to be able to deliver average cost savings of 25 per cent and create a pathway to net-zero.

Switch2 will be part of the team that explores feasibility and design of a local heat network. This will be a key component of Rewire-NW, which will address the whole energy system across the entire Warrington borough, including energy heat and transport.

By using 5G and data-centric intelligence, the project will drive the local energy systems towards lower costs and lower carbon outcomes.

Claire Hanratty, chief executive of Pure Leapfrog, said: “Project Rewire gives us a unique opportunity to secure a seat at the table for community energy, when designing the next generation of low carbon energy systems. This will ensure that future energy systems will have to consider their social impact as well as environmental and that the energy transition is a ‘just transition’.”

Richard Slee, chief executive of Switch2 Energy, said: “We are excited to be involved in creating tomorrow's smart local energy system. This is an exciting opportunity to design a future-proofed heat network that can deliver affordable, reliable, low carbon heating and hot water to businesses and residents across Warrington.”

UKRI also announced the winners of the Key Technology Components for Local Energy Systems competition, which share a further £4.5 million, together with an additional £22 million of funding to enable research on global energy challenges and their implications for the UK.

Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, said: “Every corner of the UK has a part to play as we eliminate our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050. This funding will deliver energy savings and reduce carbon emissions – a win-win for communities and the environment.”

Rob Saunders, challenge director, prospering from the Energy Revolution, UKRI said: “The winners of both the designs and the technology competitions show the breadth of innovation that the government is helping to flourish across the UK.

“This innovation provides new approaches to delivering our net zero commitments by delivering cleaner, cheaper energy services while creating more prosperous and resilient communities. But as well as their benefits to consumers, these projects, as part of the Clean Growth Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge, place UK industry at the forefront of the global shift to clean energy systems and economies.”

Switch2 Energy is a heat network specialist – supplying 80,000 residents and 180 clients across 500 heat networks. Its end-to-end service includes equipment design, manufacture and supply, metering, billing and pay-as-you-go, through to maintenance, energy centre management and customer services.

21 February 2020

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