RED WoLF - Rethink Electricity Distribution Without Load Following

Increasing renewables' usage and reducing carbon emissions from homes through distributed thermal and battery storage.

RED WoLF - Rethink Electricity Distribution Without Load Following

The Challenge

With the growing focus on renewable energy across the globe, we are looking for ways to optimise their usage, and therefore help reduce carbon emissions which have a damaging impact on the earth's climate. The RED WoLF project will increase photovoltaic self-consumption and, even more important, demand for renewable energy available on the grid. This will, in turn, reduce demand for fossil fuel and dependency from imports.

Officially approved in January 2019, and competitively funded again in March 2021, the project will end in September 2023. The total budget received from Interreg North-West Europe is €4.4 million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The total project budget is €7.3 million.

Leeds Beckett University is leading and managing the project and participating in all work packages. The proposed solution is currently being tested and refined in Pilots by the RED WoLF crew in collaboration with energy providers, social landlords and city councils in the UK and EU.

The RED WoLF Project

Intro screen for the Red WoLF promo video

The approach

Seven Pilots in the UK, Ireland, France and Luxembourg - a total of 90 houses - have been fitted with hybrid storage systems merging batteries and storage heaters. The heaters will provide heat on demand and the batteries will store output from the solar panels as well as low-carbon energy (wind/solar) drawn from the national grid at times of low demand using new 'smart' technology through which the houses hybrid storage systems will be able to communicate with the grid. This will remove the mismatch between generation and usage.

What is the innovation?

Although solar panels, batteries and thermal storage currently exist, they are not systematically combined in homes. Storage will become affordable by combining batteries with a cheap heat storage technology. This will in turn enable homes with solar panels to use their energy locally, as well as to store grid electricity when nobody wants it. Adoption of dynamic electricity tariffs enables the reduction of energy bills.

A home control system automatically makes decisions on storage based on local energy usage, the price of electricity, weather forecasts and the grid’s current CO2 intensity.

What is the generation usage mismatch?

One the one hand, there are times when a proportion of available renewable energy is wasted – it is being generated but no one uses it. On the other hand, there are certain times of day where energy demand is highest - from approximately 6 AM to 9 AM (when people are getting up and having breakfast) and from 4 PM to 8 PM (when they are home and getting the dinner on). At these times, demand is too high to rely on renewables alone so inefficient, carbon-intensive ”load-following” power plants are turned on to meet the demand.

The impact

Across the seven pilot sites in the UK, Ireland, Luxembourg and France, 90 houses are reducing carbon emissions from their energy use by 215 tonnes per year. The smart hybrid storage system, currently being tested in inhabited dwellings, will be ready for wider adoption by the end of the project.

The RED WoLF Project: Interviews

The RED WoLF interviews

Contact Dr Giuseppe Colantuono

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