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What is the project?
The SmartHubs project will create and demonstrate an innovative low-carbon energy system of the future in West Sussex. It will introduce new ways of generating and storing low-carbon heat, electricity and energy for transport and demonstrate how these can be integrated to balance energy supply and demand and deliver cost and carbon benefits for project partners, including businesses and residents.
Why was the project developed?
The development of smart energy systems represents a huge market opportunity for the UK with around $2 trillion estimated to be invested in global energy infrastructure each year. The Government is providing funding for four demonstrator projects, including SmartHubs, through Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation. The other projects are The Energy Superhub Oxford, ReFLEX Orkney and Project Leo. The ‘Prospering from the Energy Revolution’ challenge is an overall £102.5 million investment to develop smart systems that support the global move to renewable energy.
These integrated systems will provide cheaper and cleaner household and commercial energy, while creating high value jobs for the UK, enabling the UK government to meet the priorities set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, the Smart Energy Systems and Flexibility Plan, and the Industrial Strategy’s clean growth pillar. This will help the UK to meet air quality targets at lower investment costs, avoid power cuts and contribute to meeting the fifth carbon budget (from 2028).
What does the project involve?
The implementation phase of the project will see the installation and smart management of solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, domestic air source heating, commercial marine source heat and domestic and commercial energy storage. The project will integrate and optimise these systems to provide a range of efficiency, financial and environmental benefits to residents and commercial organisations. West Sussex County Council are supporting deployment of all assets within the county in order to meet their carbon goals and commitment to renewables.
What will the project demonstrate?
The project will deliver decarbonisation and grid balancing benefits for the regional West Sussex community but will also, by using field data and validated modelling work from consortium member Newcastle University, ultimately provide guidance on how similar smart energy systems can be replicated on a UK-wide scale. As part of this work the team will be analysing several future scenarios to determine which combination of technologies could assist the Net Zero emission economy that the UK has committed itself to by 2050, and how this transformation can also assist UK communities by generating demand for new skills and products.