A NORTH EAST company is launching a project that could save homeowners and businesses millions of pounds by driving down fuel bills and optimising energy usage, and create up to 20 new jobs in the region.
One North East has awarded Tyneside alternative energy company Senergy Econnect Ltd a Large Company Grant for Research and Development (R&D) of almost £172,000 for a project to create a state-of-the-art energy demand management system. It is anticipated that the innovative system will reduce energy costs, increase the management efficiency of energy networks, and considerably decrease the reliance on back-up power plants.
Senergy Econnect’s £400,000 two-year project, Powasys, also aims to cut energy bills and reduce carbon footprints by enabling homeowners and businesses to take advantage of the most cost-effective and cheapest tariffs available.
In addition, Powasys will create two new jobs at the company’s Newcastle headquarters – increasing the Powasys team to seven - with the potential to create a further 20 skilled positions if the project proves a success.
Dr Vincent Thornley, Head of Smartgrids for Senergy Econnect, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Senergy Alternative Energy, said: “Powasys is an important industry development for Senergy Econnect and the UK as we are endeavouring to make our electricity networks work smarter and increase renewable energy.
“The strategy behind the technology is to protect the country against rising energy costs and to address many of the concerns levelled at wind energy generation regarding its variable output. It could also enhance our capabilities to prepare the electricity networks for the low carbon technologies which are needed to meet our climate change targets such as electric vehicles, and clean, cheap electric heating.”
Dr Christine Barbier, Senergy Econnect R&D Manager, said: “Developing a product like Powasys involves a considerable commitment to time and resources. We’re extremely appreciative of the substantial grant from One North East which will enable us to greatly accelerate the project and also demonstrates the very real potential of Powasys.”
Senergy Econnect Ltd is an industry-renowned company specialising in grid connection and electrical engineering from initial concept to design and commissioning. Its award-winning, specially-developed web tool GridConnection.co.uk now hosts more than 80% of the GB Extra High Voltage (EHV) grid for assessing the connection of renewable energy to the Great Britain (GB) electricity network.
One North East Director of Business and Industry, Ian Williams, said: “This is an important project for the North East as it has not only the potential to create high-quality jobs in the emerging field of alternative energy, but also helps businesses drive down energy bills at a time when savings are most needed.
“Powasys supports important regional energy initiatives and those of the Department for Energy and Climate Change nationally on demand side energy management. Its development in the North East further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the low carbon economy and positioning the North East at the forefront of new technology development”
GEO (Green Energy Options Ltd) of Cambridge, is a collaborating partner on Powasys and will be developing its displays, sensors and in-home controllers to support Powasys.
GEO is a leading energy monitoring business that makes a range of smart energy management systems designed to engage users. Patrick Cagier-Smith, their CEO, said: “This is a brilliant initiative to integrate two emerging products and properly address demand management. With the expected growth in electric cars and electrical home heating systems (heat pumps and heat recovery), there will be an ever increasing strain on the grid. Innovative ways of managing demand peaks will be needed to avoid building more expensive and unwanted power stations. This is where demand management fits.”
“Engaging users will be central to the success of Powasys. Providing them with information in the home so that they feel in control is an essential element of this project. We are very excited to be part of this project.”