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Project Girona: Coleraine scheme halves energy bills for participants


As we face increasing energy and fuel costs, in conjunction with an increasingly evident climate crisis, many are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our energy consumption, while also keeping costs down. One way to do this is by investing in renewable energy. Up to three-quarters of the electricity flowing on the electricity grid at any point in time can now come from variable renewable sources following the completion of a ground-breaking project by grid operator SONI. Of all renewable electricity generated within Northern Ireland over the 12-month period from April 2021 to March 2022, 83.0% was generated from wind, as reported in the latest “Electricity Consumption and Renewable Generation in Northern Ireland” publication by Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). However, only 43.8% of total electricity consumption in Northern Ireland was generated from renewable sources.

50% of the electricity generated from renewable sources is discarded because there is no way to store that electricity and no infrastructure or mechanism in place for it to be used by the grid. These data were the triggers for an innovative project launched in 2020.

The Girona Project aimed to give electricity consumers a way to store renewable energy in their homes for use whenever needed and demonstrated the potential benefits of a Smart Local Energy System (SLES).

Could this be one of the solutions to cut out the problem of so much waste whilst providing free energy? 



Areas of impact

  • Energy Waste
  • Consumer Energy Ownership
  • Climate Crisis
  • Energy Crisis
  • Consumer savings
  • Fuel Poverty
  • Air Quality and Pollution

Highlights (2020-2022)

  • Batteries installed in 60 properties
  • Savings of £26,995, around 55% across the cluster
  • 31,340 KWh (30 MWh) exported back to the grid
  • £2,460 profit from export tariff of £0.0785 per unit
  • 171,660 KWh generated by the cluster
  • 40 tonnes of CO2 saved

Future Plans

Despite the successes of the Girona Project, customers in Northern Ireland are still facing increasing energy costs, sustainability requirements and issues around fossile fuel dependency. There is an increasing demand for electric vehicles in domestic settings, and for Solar PV and battery storage in both the domestic and commercial market, with commercial users desiring to become self-sufficient by self-generating and sharing electricity across their premises. Girona aims to address these issues by continuing to promote use of digital infrastructure, flexible tariffs, service-based charges, varied revenue stack for all and developing the necessary skills in these areas.

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