Plans for the design of the largest smart city-wide energy system in the UK have been unveiled. The £2 million scheme will cut energy bills and provide green heat, electricity and transport for residents.
The Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI) combines a next generation heat network, electricity network and EV infrastructure under one holistic scheme.
Led by Peterborough City Council the two-year project has been granted funding to begin the design of a local, smart energy system. The partnership includes: SSE Enterprise, Element Energy, Cranfield University, Smarter Grid Solutions and Sweco UK.
Max Joy, president at Sweco UK, commented, “We can’t underestimate the challenges in achieving net zero carbon and, by the same token, the ambitious nature of this project. The real brilliance in the approach, which will also be the defining element of its success, is to integrate wider infrastructure into energy management where all strands can play together.”
The PIRI project brings together energy generation, demand and storage, thereby unlocking efficiencies not deliverable under the existing, traditional energy systems. It is envisaged to be especially effective in areas where the electricity network is constrained; as well serving as a blueprint for other urban locations across the UK.
Marco Cereste, cabinet member for the environment at Peterborough City Council, said, “This exciting announcement will give Peterborough the opportunity to use its own green, locally produced electricity and heat to benefit residents. It's a landmark step in our aim to be carbon-neutral by 2030 and will be the most exciting and innovative clean, green energy project the city and indeed the country has ever seen.”
PIRI will be funded in part by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge and unlock major social and economic value for the Peterborough area from 2022. Significant private sector investment has been secured for and by members of the partnership who each have existing decarbonization expertise.
The project is one of five to win funding to create a pipeline of innovative and investable local energy system designs that will be ready to roll out across the UK in the 2020s.
Peterborough is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK while also being committed to reducing its carbon emissions. Its PIRI project aims to deliver a significant drop in CO2 emissions by 2030, while cutting energy bills by up to a quarter.
Nathan Sanders, managing director of SSE Enterprise Distributed Energy, said, “PIRI is an exciting project for us to be investing in. We hope it will demonstrate the potential of smart cities to drive local decarbonization in a commercially viable manner.
“It takes a ‘whole systems approach’ to energy one step further by integrating all socio-technical elements into one solution that can help councils hit their net zero targets. We are proud to work with leading partners and an enlightened council leadership to enhance the lives of UK citizens.”
Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng, concluded, “Every corner of the UK has a part to play as we eliminate our contribution to climate change entirely by 2050. This innovative project in Peterborough will deliver energy savings and reduce carbon emissions – a win-win for communities and the environment.”