Welsh Government Smart Living Initiative
A review of progress and learning so far
Project duration: March 2018 to July 2018
Together with AD Research & Analysis we’ve reported on the progress made so far by the Welsh Government’s Smart Living Initiative. The report was produced for the Decarbonisation and Energy Division and reviews eight ‘demonstrator’ projects which were set up to explore the concept of 'Smart Living'.
New energy technologies are emerging at a rapid pace in the transition towards a low carbon economy and there are promising opportunities for these transitions to bring benefits for communities across Wales. In response to this, the Welsh Government set up the Smart Living Initiative in 2015, to support the various demonstrators taking place to create ‘place-based and needs-led’ smart changes in Wales.
Back in 2015 we ran a number of workshops for the Welsh Government to help them articulate the concept of smart living. As of March 2018, 12 projects had started that explore how smart technology can be put to use in the service of consumers in an innovative way.
Nicky Hodges, CSE's lead on the project, described what we found out: “It is early days for several of the projects but they show promise of delivering both carbon savings and other benefits for the communities in which they are based. It seems the Smart Living programme is living up to its vision of exploring new ways of connecting people and energy for the benefit of communities.”
The eight projects that we reviewed in detail were:
- Smart Systems and Heat Programme in Bridgend – a project run by Bridgend County Borough Council exploring the options for district heating schemes in the county, including a pioneering geothermal scheme using groundwater in former mine shafts in Caerau.
- Angle DC on the Isle of Anglesey – a project run by Scottish Power energy networks to establish a medium voltage direct current link between Anglesey and the mainland
- Zero Carbon Area in Milford Waterfront – Milford Haven Port Authority are exploring a number of options for connecting renewable technologies with smart systems for the Waterfront complex.
- Catalysing Local Energy in Blaenau Gwent – Blaenau Gwent Borough Council are exploring options to allow business, industry and domestic consumers greater control over their energy use and supply to reduce carbon emissions in the county overall.
- Smart Low Carbon Development in Neath Port Talbot – Neath Port Talbot council aim to create an inclusive city-wide framework to engage citizens in smart energy projects.
- Hydrogen Valley in in Rhondda – Rhondda Cynon Taf Borough Council are looking at options for expanding the use of hydrogen fuel cells in the valleys.
- Virtual Private Wire Connection in Flintshire - Flintshire County Council are exploring ways of modelling and allocating costs for local movement of locally generated electricity for their own use within public sector buildings.
- Wellbeing in Blaenavon - Torfaen Public Services Board are researching how smart technology can work towards achieving the goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015.
We compared and contrasted these different projects against a number of different dimensions as well as examining the above projects in detail to draw out lessons and recommendations. The full report is available here.