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Centrica begins recruiting businesses for ‘pioneering’ local grid trial

Centrica has begun its recruitment drive for businesses and homes wishing to participate in its local energy market trial in Cornwall.

The energy giant announced the £19 million trial late last year, aiming to test the feasibility of connecting end-users to a decentralised smart grid comprising flexible demand, generation and storage technologies.

The next stage of the trial has now kicked into gear with Centrica making a total funding pot of £6 million available for businesses and other large energy users wishing to be involved with the scheme.

Renewable generators and other non-domestic users including factories, hospitals and large office complexes are also invited into the scheme.

Centrica started recruiting businesses during yesterday’s Cornwall Chamber of Commerce Large Enterprise Action Group meeting which was attended by the programme’s director Matt Hastings.

“This is an amazing opportunity for local businesses to get involved and help define a new energy future in Cornwall and beyond.

“Our aim is to help businesses and other large energy users from across the county to save money on their bills, and potentially even make some money, by optimising both their energy demand and on-site generation, and making their assets available to the National Grid,” Hastings said.

Centrica is aiming to bring around 60 local businesses into the trial with the funds being used to pay for energy audits and retrofitted upgrades including smart technology and energy storage units.

Participating businesses will then be introduced to a virtual marketplace where they can ‘sell’ their capacity to the grid and the wider wholesale energy market.