Suzanne Schutte is a supermarket worker – and an energy pioneer. The mother of two from Wadebridge, Cornwall is the first householder to have solar panels and cutting-edge battery technology installed as part of a £19 million trial that aims to help unlock further renewable energy use across her part of south west England. What makes this scheme different to thousands of other rooftop solar schemes across the world – and what makes Suzanne a pioneer – is that the electricity generated by the solar panels and stored in her battery won’t just be used by her home or sold back into the grid. Under the Cornwall Local Energy Market, homes and businesses will eventually be able to trade electricity with each other directly. This gives them greater control over their energy use and greater access to cleaner and cheaper electricity. By taking part in the scheme, Suzanne joins a select band of people in communities across the globe trialling new ways of using and trading energy that are underpinned by the latest digital technology. Being able to store and move electricity at a far more local level can help smooth out supply and demand, and address many of the problems caused by the intermittent nature of renewable electricity generation. Cornwall Local Energy Market is being funded by Centrica and the European Regional Development Fund, with support from partners including the local distribution network operator and academia. All of the organisations involved regard it as a critical test case for how energy markets around the world could operate in the future.
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