The County Council has been recognised for its pioneering work on renewable energy through a major funding announcement.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has today awarded £13 million through Innovate UK for a three-year pilot project that will help to shape the way that energy is generated, stored and supplied to homes and businesses in the UK.
West Sussex County Council is one of the main partners in Project SMARTHUBS which will design, implement and test a new smart local energy system in West Sussex. Most of the work will be carried out in and around the Adur and Worthing area.
The project, which involves Adur & Worthing Councils and private sector partners with expertise in low-carbon energy, will develop a number of seamlessly linked energy projects that will:
• Increase the amount of renewable electricity generated through solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, build more battery capacity to store the renewable energy generated and invest in improvements to the local electricity grid;
• Demonstrate how low-carbon heat can be generated and shared in an efficient and environmentally-friendly way by using solar PV and batteries to power domestic and commercial heat pumps;
• Develop a new district heat network in the Shoreham Port area to distribute low-carbon heat energy to consumers;
• Provide clean energy for transport by producing hydrogen gas to power vehicles and linking solar PV arrays and battery storage to an electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Project SMARTHUBS is one of four pilot projects to be awarded Innovate UK funding. It is the only one to test new innovations around electrical and heat energy and energy for transport at scale. The other Innovate UK-funded projects are located in Oxfordshire and Orkney.
Steve Read, the County Council’s Director of Energy, Waste and Environment, said: “We are delighted to be part of Project SMARTHUBS. This is an exciting opportunity and recognition of our growing reputation for delivering successful, pioneering energy projects such as our solar farms, battery storage projects and Solar Power for Schools programme.
“The lessons we learn will help the Government to plan ahead and adapt our national energy system to the fundamental changes taking place. These include the growth in renewable energy supply, increasing demand for energy from electric vehicles and other innovations and the challenge of balancing energy supply and demand.”
With the funding now secure, project partners have begun working on a detailed project plan and timescales. Further project details and timescales will be available later this year.