BlaZE: A new way for business to save on their energy costs

BankEnergi has been awarded the delivery of ‘BlaZE’- Blaenau Gwent Net Zero Energy business parks by the Welsh Government and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. This is a 12-month project to design and deliver a viable energy trading solution for business parks in the region and to bring them closer to the Path to Net zero, a UK-government pledge that the country will have zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.

Partners include Wales & West Utilities and carbonTRACK UK.

The main aim and intentions are:

  • To embrace and accelerate the transition to smart energy by developing innovative energy trading solutions which support energy supply, demand and storage
  • To develop cross-sector partnerships with government, business and householders to trade energy
  • Scale to other places in Wales and to spread benefits of One Wales’ wider goals of wellbeing, alleviating fuel poverty, focussing on economic prosperity and the ambition for the Welsh public sector to be carbon neutral by 2030
  • Support leadership with addressing the climate impact of government’s own operations
  • Optimise decarbonisation pathways for the business parks and thereby the county borough.

Selection of business parks:

We undertook an initial appraisal earlier this year (March to April 2021) and identified several business parks that would provide us with the archetypes or uses that we can replicate elsewhere in the County Borough. We selected these parks based on a mix of public and private ownership, different uses and sizes (so we can cover the full breath and range), and also where some existing renewables may exist, so we support the use of these in local and national energy markets and maximise revenues.

If you are a tenant in the region, we would welcome your participation and attach the following FAQs.

What is energy trading?

Energy trading is the ability to trade either locally, peer-to-peer or with national markets any surplus generation that you might have, or indeed, reduce imported grid electricity during peak times.  

There are about 13 different energy markets available to trade, and not all have been made accessible to the general user. We are opening up energy markets for the ordinary ‘’prosumer’’ – a consumer and producer of energy to be able to trade into.

If one particular site does not have capacity, we may aggregate with other nearby sites to have enough capacity to place a trade. These trades can be either with the local district network operator (such as Western Power Distribution) when there is a grid constrained event, or with the operator of the National Grid – for when there is an energy supply shortage. We may even want to trade between ourselves for surplus! Or, store energy during the night, when the energy prices are low so we can use this during the day when energy prices are high and make some savings. We may even store excess generation from a solar PV panel in order that we are not exporting back to the grid but making best use of the free energy on our sites.

We have a short video here that provides more explanation:

https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/534333246

Will it cost me more on my energy bills?

No, the whole intention is to reduce energy bills and provide carbon savings at the same time.

Who are the BankEnergi team?

The BankEnergi team is led and project managed by Rajvant Nijjhar, who will also look at optimising energy and flexibility trading. Ian Byrne will be conducting many of the sites surveys and engaging with stakeholders at a local level. Darren Shipard is involved in the installation of the Virtual Power Plant connected to energy markets, supported by Tom Bailey, Chris Clarke and Bethan Winter (WWU) on whole systems planning.

How do I get involved?

Please feel free to drop us a line at:

Rajvant@bankenergi.com | or call on 07989 407 426.

What sort of information do I need to provide?

To enable us to assess the potential for trading and to build up a picture of how many assets can be aggregated in the region, we have put together a short list of questions. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information, as we can work with you to put it together. We need to understand your usage, types and profiles of loads, in order to understand what the potential is in different markets. The information that you provide will be strictly used for this purpose only and we are also governed by the ICO office for data protection.

What is more important – carbon or saving revenues?

Not all measures will necessarily equate to carbon savings – for example if you are simply using grid electricity and shifting the time of use in the day for economic purposes. What is more important is an individual preference – although people like to see both. Therefore, where possible, we work to develop green solution that incorporate renewables into the solution as well as economic benefit.

How can I find out if my business is located on one of the priority business parks ?

At the moment we are giving priority to businesses on the six parks (Rassau, Tafarnaubach, Roseheyworth, Noble Square, Blaenant and Barleyfield), but if you think that you might be interested, and your main operations are located on another business park or have other premises in Blaenau Gwent, please let us know.

Are there other measures that will help me reduce bills & emissions?

As part of the energy assessment, we may find opportunities for making energy efficiency improvement measures, installing on-site renewable energy (such as photovoltaic panels that use the sun’s energy to generate electricity), or adding electric vehicle charging points or energy storage.  If we find them, we’ll tell you what we have found, although are unable to help finance or install such measures – we are not linked to any companies that might carry out such work, so can stay impartial.

Will I need the approval of my landlord to take part?

For basic energy trading, if you are responsible for paying your bills directly to the supplier, then it’s unlikely you’ll need landlord approval – and this is also likely to be the case if there are any energy efficiency improvement measures undertaken on plant & equipment.  Obviously, if anything might affect the building itself, or landlord’s fixtures and fittings, such as adding solar panels, or changing the heating or lighting systems, then it will be necessary for you to seek landlord’s permission.  Where that’s the County Borough Council, it should generally be given without too many problems!

What does this entail for me?

We will make an initial desktop assessment based on information provided by you and others in the region. (This enables us to aggregate). Therefore, the more that are involved, the greater the benefit to all.

We will then contact you again for more in-depth support and analysis and eventually start a trial trade.

We realise of course that you will have your own questions, so feel free to get in touch at:

rajvant@bankenergi.com

Ian@ibeccs.co.uk