BEIS awards funding for Core4Grid initiative


geo, a leading provider of smart energy products, has been successful in securing funding from the  UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to further develop Core, the smart energy manager at the heart of geo’s Hybrid Home system.

As part of this, geo will head up a unique consortium comprising regional power distributors, energy aggregators, energy suppliers and prominent housing associations, with the objective of delivering flexible energy options to households and positively impacting energy policy in the UK.

Core sits at the heart of the home management platform, providing consumers with a user-friendly system that works seamlessly in the background to automate control of smart energy systems. It integrates third-party products such as solar PV panels and electric vehicle chargers to help homeowners optimise how and when they use energy, improve energy management, and make energy requirements in the home more flexible.

In phase one, geo worked with UK Power Networks (the distribution system operator for the South East and East of England), and Upside Energy, an energy software company.

In phase one they successfully demonstrating Core’s assets being controlled by Upside’s dispatcher technology, market design and, with the support of the National Energy Foundation, sizing the DSR opportunity for a national rollout.

This second phase of BEIS funding has been awarded under BEIS’s Domestic DSR (demand side response) competition to geo’s Core4Grid project. geo recognised that the initiative would be an excellent fit for its Core system and to bring this to life, assembled a powerful team of partners to collectively deliver its ambitious goals.  

Phase two will see the rollout begin in UK homes that will benefit most from being able to manage and make money out of their energy usage. Through the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust, this stage will involve Worthing Homes and Gentoo Housing, both of which are housing associations managing thousands of properties. The objective will be to allow Core to coordinate when they buy their energy. This will ensure each household has the energy it needs, when it needs it, at least cost, and be able to sell any excess.

To do this, Phase 2 will see Core upgraded to enable DSR switching and domestic flexibility, and then the installation of geo’s Hybrid Home in 24 homes. Market demonstration will be achieved through partnerships with EDF Energy, the energy consultancy Everoze, and together with Phase one partners they will design the customer proposition and background market to maximise the benefits for the households involved and for the grid.

“We have laid the groundwork for the Core4Grid project over the last few months by working closely with our partners,” said Thomas Whiffen, Core product manager at geo.

“UK Power Networks and Upside Energy are collectively providing business rationale and consumer insights, as well as delivering innovative ideas about how we can deliver domestic flexibility.”

Cambridge Energy and the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust will be providing 3rd party independent testing and evaluation of the trials, answering whether the future flexible electrical grid is market ready.

“It will be very exciting to move onto the rollout stage,” continued Whiffen. “UKPN’s grid signals and other flexibility offers from the market will be interpreted by EDF energy and Upside Energy, with dispatch commands sent to the 24 homes involved. We’ll test consumer response to prospective tariffs, under synthesised future grid conditions, so real value can be passed onto the participating households.”