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Energy Goes Social

December 6, 2017


Verv launches UK’s first peer-to-peer energy trading community on London social housing to bring cheaper energy to residents, with a Government grant awarded to support full scale real-time application using advanced AI.

Verv, a brand of Green Running Ltd who are machine learning specialists in the energy sector, has announced the launch of the UK’s first energy trading community at Hackney’s Banister House estate. The field-trial, delivered in collaboration with Repowering London, will be the first-time energy is physically traded in the UK through Verv’s blockchain-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading solution – Verv 2.0, providing cheaper energy to its residents. The results of the project will inform the potential for further roll out across the UK.

Verv 2.0, a small smart home hub, will be installed into 40 participating flats in the community to allow residents to share lower cost renewable energy between one another for free, as well as benefit from the functionality of home energy assistant Verv which provides real-time cost updates per appliance, safety alerts if appliances are left on and notifications if white goods are deteriorating.

This further supports the pioneering work of Banister House Solar, the UK’s largest community energy scheme on social housing. The project was launched in 2015 by residents of the Banister House Estate, local energy advocacy group Hackney Energy, and Repowering, a London based social enterprise set up to facilitate community owned energy.  With the support of Hackney Council, solar panels were installed on 17 of the blocks of flats that make up Banister House in order to generate clean energy for the community.

However, there are limitations associated with solar energy; for example, the limited periods of sunshine in winter which makes it difficult to fully meet residents’ needs, or the underutilised excess energy produced during the summer which can amount to a staggering 70% per household (Eurobat report 2016).

By adding Verv 2.0 to flats in the community, alongside individual and communal battery storage provided by partner Powervault, solar energy can be stored and then traded between flats, critically creating fossil free and cheaper energy for all residents.

The project has received a grant worth over £100,000 from the government to help support Ofgem’s research into blockchain – a key technology which they have included within their regulatory sandbox. The project will also be supported by UCL Energy Institute’s LoLo CDT in Energy Demand.

Green Running founder, Peter Davies, who began the Verv project in 2015, wants to tackle the energy sector at its very core, by targeting each individual home and democratising data for consumers to generate positive social impact. On the launch of the project Peter Davies, CEO of Verv commented:

“We are on a mission to give the consumer control of their energy and the Banister House project is a fantastic opportunity to bring to life just how much this P2P infrastructure can benefit areas such as social housing.

“As a company, our goal is to eradicate fuel poverty and by partnering with Repowering to put Verv 2.0 into Banister House to enable the sharing of clean energy at affordable prices, we are moving one step closer towards making that happen. The fact that we will be physically trading energy for the first time is a very exciting prospect.”

Jack Dangerfield, Energy Efficiency & Community Engagement Officer for Repowering, said:

“Having completed a project to install community-owned solar PV at Banister House, residents have always asked if there could be a way to use the clean renewable energy themselves.  Frustratingly, due to the structure of the UK electricity market, this has not been possible so far, and the majority of the electricity is exported to the Grid.  We’re delighted to be working alongside Verv, who are providing residents with the means to take the first steps to overcome this challenge, and start powering their community with sunshine.”  

The project, which begins early next year, will run for 12 months at Banister House, Hackney. Verv is a Green Running brand that specialises in advanced AI and machine learning in the energy sector. Creators of a home energy assistant, Verv helps consumers to save money on their energy bills, reduce their carbon footprint and keep their homes safe. Verv is on a mission to reduce the environmental impact of energy and make homes smarter and more efficient. It has developed a peer-to-peer energy trading solution for its home energy assistant that will improve access to low carbon energy.

This follows Verv’s £215,000 grant from BEIS’ Energy Entrepreneur’s fund to simulate their Verv 2.0 solution across the UK, and the development looks set to drive exciting developments in the UK energy market over the coming years.

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