As part of the Superfast Cornwall programme, a project was initiated to identify value adding initiatives arising from increased and improved digital connectivity. The programme invited tenders for innovative ideas for a project that encompassed both smart energy solutions/energy monitoring and broadband.
This project was commissioned to use Superfast Broadband (SFBB) connections to provide real-time information from dispersed energy monitors to enable consumers and businesses to understand and act on their energy consumption. This would also provide statistical data for research purposes to determine if and how strategies could be developed to improve Demand Side Management.
The overall aim of the project was to use Superfast Broadband connections to provide real-time information from dispersed energy monitors to enable consumers and businesses to understand and act on their energy consumption, and to facilitate positive improvements in electricity Demand Side Management by providing a platform which may be used to better balance consumer demand and available generation.
This project did not seek to tackle the general need to move away from gas and other fossil fuels as a primary form of home and hot water heating.
Several discrete individual objectives were identified for the pilot to support the overall aims:
· the creation of an Energy Performance Library (EPL) – a library of actual energy performance profiles for real households and appliances for comparison against manufacturers stated performance figures
· the provision of a real-time information and feedback communication tool (‘Portal’) – a facility using superfast broadband to allow households and businesses to review and compare their energy consumption
· the identification of a process for the development of automatic intervention strategies to enable energy demand to be shifted without impacting normal life (Dynamic Energy Communications Suite ‘DECS’)
A mixed sample of domestic and non-domestic premises were selected for the trial, which involved an energy survey, occupancy assessment and the installation of remote monitoring equipment at a range of properties and on a variety of white goods and cold storage appliances.Data was gathered via the SFBB connection on a minute by minute basis for both specific appliance and overall electricity consumption, and where appropriate on-site generation. The data was securely stored with additional environmental data; weather and grid performance, and static data; property and occupancy information, and participants were given access to monitor their own usage via an on-line portal.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES
The project team successfully installed monitoring equipment at the targeted 50 domestic and 5 non-domestic premises; in addition 124 individual appliance monitors were installed, more than targeted, and additional sensors for monitoring PV were installed at 16 premises.
Despite a longer rollout timescale and a higher than anticipated rate of equipment failures, over 24 million data points of electricity consumption by minute were collected over a 6 month period.
Analysis of the data and the identification of correlations between elements enabled the project team to provide general feedback in the form of a newsletter to all participants, which along with the high levels of individual participant engagement resulted in some behaviour modifications – the majority of which resulted in improvements to energy consumption. The core output from the project is a dataset which has a number of different appliance energy performance profiles. This both provides the basis for a full appliance performance library over time and a test bed for the development of intervention strategies.
The results of the project also demonstrate that superfast broadband can be used as an enabler to produce positive influences on reducing energy usage and hence man-made climate impacts.