Energy demand in Peterborough is growing as the city expands | Credit: Sean Hickin
Plans to link up waste-to-energy, heat networks, battery storage and electric vehicle charge points could serve as a blueprint for other UK cities, according to council
Work to create the ‘UK’s largest’ city-wide smart energy system has gotten underway in Peterborough as part of a council-led scheme to cut household bills and CO2 emissions by connecting up low carbon electricity, heat networks and electric vehicle charge points.
Jointly funded by the government’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) body and the private sector, work on the the Peterborough Integrated Renewables Project (PIRI) kicked off on Thursday is expected to slash the city’s energy bills by as much as a quarter.
One work is completed in 2022, the project’s partners – which include Peterborough City Council, SSE Enterprise, Element Energy, Cranfield University, Smarter Grid Solutions and Sweco UK – claim it will be the largest urban low carbon energy system in the UK.
The plan is to roll out and bring together clean energy generation, battery storage, heat produced by the city’s energy-from-waste plant to provide integrated low carbon mobility, electricity and heating services. If successful, the project could be used as a blueprint for other cities and towns, the project partners said.
“This is a highly innovative project, one of the most ambitious nationally and one which could become the most significant in the UK’s transition to low carbon infrastructure,” said Elliot Smith, PIRI programme head at Peterborough City Council. “For Peterborough, it has substantial benefits and supports the sustainable growth of the city.”
Peterborough residents involved in the project are expected to benefit from cheaper bills due to integrated billing services for heat, electricity and mobility, including electric vehicles, while local authorities can gain from having a transparent tariff setting that generates long term savings, the council said.
Professor Philip Longhurst, head of the Centre for Climate and Environment Protection at Cranfield University, said achieving the net zero by 2050 in the UK meant “we are going to have to do things differently”.
“These plans announced today for the PIRI project show how local low carbon, smart energy systems could be used across the UK for the benefit of both the environment and consumers,” he said.