General aims and objectives

If we consider solar panels mounted on a house roof, then the house owner may not benefit fully from the electricity they generate. This is because if they do not use this solar generated electricity when it is produced, it is put into the grid (exported to the grid network) but with much lower economic benefit for the homeowner. One solution to this is to capture the excess solar energy in a battery, and then use the stored energy from the battery in the evening when the energy is needed.

However, this raises a few questions:

  • Batteries are expensive – how can we recoup on the investment?
  • How big a battery do we need?
  • Batteries degrade with time – how do we cope with this?

What we want to explore within Project SENSIBLE is how best to use energy storage with distributions systems. For example, is it better to work with other households as an “energy community”, rather than to operate alone? The community approach can spread and possibly lower the initial investment (by having a single large battery rather than lots of small battery systems), reduce the average energy storage size required per household, and give the end users more “buying power” when negotiating with the distribution system operator (the DSO).

The project brings together a team from many areas of the electricity trading sector – equipment designers and manufacturers, system operators, energy market traders, and research organisations, as well as the most important members – electricity users themselves. In Project SENSIBLE, the electricity users are represented by communities in Nottingham and Évora.

We also want to look at the specific challenges associated with commercial buildings, and links between heat and electricity usage.

For more information, watch this video:

Technical objectives

Project SENSIBLE will explore the integration of small scale, widely available technologies into local power grids.

Project SENSIBLE will:

  • develop and demonstrate power electronic technologies that enable the full set of storage functions
  • develop measures and methods for safe storage integration into buildings and power networks
  • develop and demonstrate advanced ICT tools for the control and management of distribution networks
  • develop and demonstrate power and energy management in buildings and local communities
  • develop and demonstrate locally-focused energy market services
  • define specifications enabling new distributed energy storage products, markets and businesses
  • conduct life cycle analyses (LCA) and assess the socio-economic impact of small-scale storage integrated in buildings, as well as communities and distribution networks