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Spain and UK Unite to Progress Community Energy

Monday, 8 September 2008

Technology experts from the UK’s leading renewable energy R&D centre at NaREC, will work with their counterparts at CENER, National Renewable Energy Centre of Spain, to create new ways of generating and distributing power from small-scale renewables within communities.

The one year project will investigate ways to allow communities to generate and use their own power from renewable energy resources, in a reliable and cost-effective way.

What is NaREC/Low Carbon and Energy

The electricity networks of Europe serve us well in today’s world of fossil fuels, but mounting evidence indicates that the way we generate and transport our electricity must change fundamentally to adapt to the changing energy portfolio.

With more and more renewable energy being generated and absorbed into our electrical grid networks, more choices will be available in the future to end users as to where they source their power and how they consume it.

There is a significant amount of interest across Europe in so-called ‘Smart-grid’ systems better capable of transmitting and distributing power from different renewable resources in a reliable, flexible electrical network.

Creating localised, intelligent electrical networks, will protect power users from the future risks of black-outs and periods of electricity shortages when electricity supplies struggle to meet with increased energy demands during peak periods.

The team is currently identifying existing communities within Spain and the UK with populations of between 10 and 25 000 which can be used as test subjects for ‘smart-grid’ renewable systems.

The project aims to then demonstrate the most appropriate technical solutions for integrating low carbon power generation technologies into a localised, community-based electrical system.

The project will identify and source the best renewable energy technologies available for use within the built environment. The project will also investigate the best options for the storage, control, transmission and distribution of this power on a localised electrical network, as an alternative to connecting power generating technologies to the national electrical grid network.