The city of Peterborough, England has launched the largest smart city-wide, low carbon energy system in the UK with the aim of delivering reduced carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030, while cutting energy bills by up to a quarter. The Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI) combines a next generation heat network, electricity network, and an electric vehicle infrastructure.
“This is a highly innovative project – one of the most ambitious nationally and one which could become the most significant in the UK’s transition to low carbon infrastructure. For Peterborough, it has substantial benefits and supports the sustainable growth of the city,” stated Elliot Smith, PIRI Program Lead at Peterborough City Council.
Over the next two years, PIRI will offer:
- locally produced, cleaner energy and heat from waste;
- multi-utility infrastructure delivery;
- integrated billing and service for heat, electricity and mobility;
- low carbon technology; and,
- transparent tariff setting.
PIRI is being led by Peterborough City Council, with partners that include SSE Enterprise, Element Energy, Cranfield University, Smarter Grid Solutions and Sweco UK. It is funded from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Prospering from the Energy Revolution challenge, along with corporate investment.
If successful, the project could be launched in other cities and towns throughout the UK, to aid in realizing the goals of Net Zero by 2050.
Professor Philip Longhurst, head of the Center for Climate and Environment Protection at Cranfield University, said: “For the UK to achieve its ambitions of Net Zero, we are going to have to do things differently. These plans announced today for the PIRI project show how local low carbon, smart energy systems could be used across the UK for the benefit of both the environment and consumers. At Cranfield, we pride ourselves on the practical application of our low carbon technology research and our close links with industry, PIRI is a fantastic example of that in action.”