A project to develop an underground smart energy grid for inner cities has been launched in London and the West Midlands.
GreenSCIES (Green Smart Community Integrated Energy System) is currently at the design stage and according to the project partners it has the potential to help solve the challenge of powering inner cities in a sustainable way while tackling fuel poverty.
London South Bank University (LSBU), Islington Council and Transport for London (TfL) are the joint partners behind GreenSCIES.
The new smart energy grid works by sharing heating and cooling between buildings to ensure a balanced energy supply across the network. Waste heat is captured from secondary heat sources, including office buildings, data centres and the public transport network. The temperature of the waste heat is then raised or cooled using heat pumps before being distributed to homes, businesses and communities.
Meanwhile, decentralised energy centres will provide hubs for photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation, electric vehicles (EVs) and vehicle-to-grid charging/storage alongside large scale batteries. They can then be used for Demand Side Response to flex with electricity grid requirements/tariffs using an artificial intelligence control system.
The network is expected to be the first large smart energy system in the UK that integrates energy technologies across heat, power and transport.
GreenSCIES aims to deliver a solution that can provide low carbon and low cost transport, power and heat to a total of 12,500 homes in the London Borough of Islington and Sandwell in the West Midlands. It is anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 80% compared with conventional systems, deliver air quality improvements by reducing pollutants, and result in lower energy bills for consumers.