REMeDY | Southend Borough Council

Bringing affordable, low carbon energy to Southend

REMeDY (Revolution in Energy Market Design) is an energy innovation project funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by Southend Borough Council alongside a consortium of delivery partners, including SMS.

The project aims to bring affordable, low-carbon energy to residents and businesses in Southend – through a business model that is replicable across the UK – using a Smart Local Energy System (SLES) which is integrated horizontally (working across electricity, heat and mobility) and vertically (bringing together generation, distribution, flexibility and supply).

With our experience delivering complex electrical infrastructure, metering, and integrated low-carbon energy systems, SMS acted as Technical and Commercial Lead Partner within the project consortium.

The Challenge

Like similar towns and cities all over the UK, over 80% of the carbon footprint of Southend is from its buildings (homes and commercial) and transportation. REMeDY set out to successfully demonstrate an innovative local ‘smart’ energy solution to make it possible to move away from gas, and instead to use low-carbon heating on the path to Southend’s 2030 Net Zero target.

The aim is to develop a Smart Local Energy System (SLES) model to meet the unique needs in Southend-on-Sea, helping the council’s journey towards its net zero carbon emissions 2030 goal. In doing so, REMeDY will support residents and businesses in accessing cheaper and low carbon energy, as well as reducing the pressure on an already overloaded electricity grid.

The Solution

Counting on our 25+ years of experience delivering complex electrical infrastructure, metering, and integrated low-carbon energy systems, we acted as the project’s Technical and Commercial Lead Partner.

SMS led the development of technical designs and electrical metering and would act as ongoing the ‘System Operator’ responsible for optimising the SLES assets via our FlexiGrid Virtual Power Plant platform. We also drew on our expertise as an asset funder and commercial partner to create and deploy novel business models where SMS would both fund the solution and provide a route to market for flexibility markets.

Our consortium partner, Vital Energi, meanwhile was responsible for the development of designs of heat network infrastructure, working alongside other partners (Imperial College London, University of East Anglia, FutureGov and Places for People) to develop the business model for the supply of affordable low carbon heat and investigate how this solution can be replicated in other areas of the UK.

The REMeDY concept has been designed at various sites including Fossetts Farm development and Victoria Shopping Centre, to identify a sustainable, low carbon solution that drives performance and costs up to 10% less for residents.

Enlarge image of SLES model 

Project Benefits

Besides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, benefits of the project include the ability to improve energy system resilience and reliability, lower energy system costs, develop realistic low-carbon heat pathways, and establish local energy systems as a new asset class for investors.

What’s more, the rollout is expected to have the potential to deliver approximately a 10% reduction in customer energy bills, whilst also generally improving user-experience for end-consumers and primary contractors, such as local authorities, housing associations, and property developers.

Ultimately, once fully implemented, REMeDY aims to providing a concept that can help the Government achieve its net-zero carbon emissions target by 2050 whilst also offering value to consumers, infrastructure funders, and project developers.

Outcomes and Learnings

The consortium has used this opportunity to create a regulatory compliant and technically feasible SLES model that is commercially viable and investible. The project’s many key takeaways include:

  • The REMeDY proposition is generally limited to new build development, doesn’t offer the same value in retrofit due to cost and practicality issues of installing district heating provision. This retrofit challenge is overcome however when a Local Authority has designated specific local areas as a heat network zone.
  • REMeDY delivers end-user cost and carbon savings against all counterfactuals modelled within the project.
  • Project learning means SMS now has the tools to model and offer REMeDY SLES propositions to Southend-on-Sea City Council and other UK counterparties.
  • SMS’s ability to finance the solution reduces construction CAPEX burden in most cases, unlocking long-term value for end users, housing developers, DNOs, and local authorities/social housing providers.
  • As SLES models are a very complex arrangement to procure and contract, they require specialist skills and investors familiar with multi-asset class investment packages and financing arrangements.
  • Many regulatory barriers were uncovered throughout the project that need careful consideration. SMS and consortium partners continue to work with BEIS, OFGEM and industry bodies to find ways to unlock further potential from these types of systems.

What our partners say

We are pleased to be blazing the trail for one of the UK’s flagship strategic projects on local energy systems. The project supports our goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and enables us to share learnings with other authorities across the country, meaning we are making a huge difference nationally in the fight against global warming.”

Cllr Carole Mulroney
Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Environment, Culture and Tourism, Southend Borough Council
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