Households and businesses that generate their own power through micro-renewables, such as solar panels and wind turbines, may soon be able to decide where to distribute their extra energy.
A new project led by computer scientists at the University of Bristol – funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) – is researching ‘free trade’ between micro-generators in a peer-to-peer energy market.
The UK has seen an increase in the uptake of micro-generation, in which individuals or organisations install their own small scale, renewables-based energy generators to produce and use energy.
Currently, in the UK, the household-generators must sell the excess of their production back to the national grid at a set price. In a peer-to-peer energy market any two individuals/households can directly buy from and sell to each other, without intermediating utilities or other third parties.
The key aim of the Household-Supplier Energy Market Project is to research the feasibility of a ‘democratised’ P2P energy market.
Dr Ruzanna Chitchyan, who leads the project, said: “Perhaps you have installed some solar panels and you would much rather contribute your excess generation free of charge to the nearby homeless shelter instead of selling it back to the utility provider. Or sell it to someone else at a better price or give it to your neighbour. The households that produce the energy should have the power to decide on what to do with it. Similarly, consumers should be able to decide whose energy and at what price they want to buy. The HoSEM trading platform will support this freedom of choice.
“Similar ‘sharing’ platforms are already in place in other markets, for example via Airbnb in the hotel industry, or Uber in taxi hire (though both of these still impose substantial centralisation and intermediation charges).”
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