Net-zero operation map
This project worked on a system to identify opportunities for “total controlled-environment agriculture” projects which could be integrated with local grid flexibility needs, to save costs and CO2.
Brits Energy Ltd
Summary: impacts and findings
The net-zero operation map project developed and demonstrated a system to identify the best locations for total controlled-environment agriculture (TCEA) sites in terms of energy flexibility opportunities. The study confirmed the potential of combining TCEA with flexibility in helping to reach sustainability goals in an affordable manner.
Project aims and approach
Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change. TCEA approach has potential to transform food production by removing seasonality, cutting water use, lowering carbon emissions and improving security of supply. However, supplying energy for TCEA, rather than natural sunlight, comes at a cost.
At the same time, controlling energy input for TCEA farming, and the ability of plants to adapt to their environment, can have value in providing demand flexibility to the electricity grid. It is estimated that managing energy use in a way that integrates with demand-side response programmes could deliver cost savings of 30% and CO2 reductions of 100%.
The vision of the project was to advance deployment of TCEA while improving grid resilience.
The team set out to validate the opportunity, check feasibility and identify the best locations to set up farms using TCEA, in order to benefit from energy system constraints and opportunities. They carried out detailed research with agriculture companies and other stakeholders to understand needs and issues, and used this to develop the data-driven net zero operation map.
Below you can watch a detailed ‘show and tell’ presentation and demonstration of this project, recorded in July 2021.
Brits Energy Ltd
April 2021 to June 2021
Achievements and barriers
The project developed an Alpha version of its net zero operations map which compares the prospects for operating TCEA units in different regions across the UK. A significant outcome was the confirmation from end-users that the tool has a meaningful value proposition.
Data access was one barrier. Some information needed to forecast energy costs is available at National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) and Distribution Network Operators (DNO) level. However other information – such as such as connection cost, and localised network constraints management zones – is not easily accessible. The project addressed this using public resources, but to increase accuracy in future would involve working with data owners to access the information directly.
The project was not selected for further funding in Phase 2 of the MEDApps programme.