- Smart Flex Heat Pump Trial update
Project LEO recently announced that we are extending our Deddington and Duns Tew Smart and Fair Neighbourhood trial to become a bigger ‘Smart Flex Heat Pump Trial’ within the wider geography of Oxfordshire.
The original scope of the trial was to work with a portfolio of 15 households in Deddington (a large Oxfordshire village that is partially off the gas network) and Duns Tew (a smaller community that is completely off the network) to install heat pumps (a low carbon heating technology) and smart monitoring technology to test the viability of providing flexibility services to the grid.
To date, we have three householders taking part in the trial. It has understandably been challenging to get homeowners ‘heat pump’ ready, not least because of the costs involved in both the heat pump purchase and the potential retrofit measures that their homes would need to make the heat pump suitable.
Of our current trial households, two homeowners have newly installed heat pumps – one installed with Cosy Homes Oxfordshire (a home retrofit service of which Low Carbon Hub is a delivery partner) and one through self-installation. The other homeowner already had a heat pump in place.
All the homes have now installed the necessary comms equipment from PassiveUK which will allow Project LEO to control their heat pumps as part of the trial – in effect, we will be turning them up and down to see if they can deliver flexibility to the local energy network.
The trial is fully integrated with Peoples Power Station 2.0 which is the online tool we’ve developed with Low Carbon Hub to be a centre for the trial’s controls, monitoring and data collection.
We will be testing the control of the heat pumps over the upcoming weeks so that that they will be ready to take part in the next LEO trial period, which will be testing the provision of flexibility services starting in Winter 2022.
As we are all too aware, the coming winter is going to be a difficult time for energy consumers, with bills set to rise to an all-time high and the security of our energy supply in question. Now, more than ever, our Smart and Fair trials looking towards building a fairer and more equitable energy system become so important.