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Amp X to test digital energy assistant in up to 60 Living Lab homes to unlock flexibility

Edinburgh-based innovator Amp X is set to trial an autonomous, digital energy assistant in up to 60 Living Lab homes run by Energy Systems Catapult, aiming to help households to reduce the cost and carbon intensity of their energy and ultimately lead to peer-to-peer trading.

Amp X’s exciting new ‘behind-the-meter’ technology is called ALICE: Agent for Lifestyle-based Intelligent Control of Energy, and it aims to create a consumer-centric energy system like that described in the Government’s Energy White Paper released last month.

Using a combination of machine-learning, advanced data analytics and control systems, Amp X want to help consumers take advantage of low-cost, low-carbon energy, improve electricity grid resilience and stability, and explore new business models and revenue opportunities for different stakeholders across the system.

ALICE makes autonomous demand-side-response decisions based on real-world market signals, such as calls from network operators for additional flexibility to manage grid constraints, changes to the carbon intensity of the electricity grid due to more or less renewable generation, or time-of-use tariffs that offer consumers cheaper electricity when demand alters.

Fifty additional homes will join the Living Lab, which is a safe and affordable, real-world test environment of almost 200 homes that helps innovative businesses rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy products, services and business models.

Energy Systems Catapult will provide consumer insights to Amp X about how Living Lab residents experience the technology. ALICE will learn the preferences of residents – such as what time they need their electric vehicle charged in the morning or target temperatures for heating different rooms. Then the application of advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and user-centred autonomous control will determine the optimum schedule to minimise cost and carbon for households, while delivering services to the electricity grid.

Dr Irene Di Martino, Head of Amp X, said: “Our vision of the future moves on smart energy from automated to autonomous, turning the edge of the grid into the locus of provision of grid flexibility, stability and resilience.

“Consumer engagement is a key barrier to demand‐response as a scalable non‐wire‐alternative. The Amp X digital energy assistant will cater simultaneously for consumer preferences and grid needs, delivering demand‐side‐management at a very large scale through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Our solution will allow for optimal energy management and dynamic load shaping behind‐the-meter in residential, commercial and industrial premises, enabling cost and carbon savings, though with no adverse impact on the needs and lifestyle of the end users.

“Part of what we are wanting to validate with Energy Systems Catapult is what features of our solution work best for different user‐types and properties (ecosystems).

“Our ultimate goal is to deliver an inclusive, future‐proof, fully transactive grid, where virtualised local energy markets exemplify the full democratisation and decentralisation of the grid, with peer‐to‐peer trading through the active participation of every producer and consumer across the grid.”

The Living Lab utilises a range of housing types and consumer demographics spread around the UK and ungraded with digital connectivity, so UK businesses can test low carbon innovations in real-world conditions and scale for market.

Living Lab business lead, Rebecca Sweeney, said: “Energy Systems Catapult will draw on experts in consumer insight and data science to help Amp X test the ALICE digital energy assistant under real-world conditions.

“Our consumer insight specialists will work with residents to analyse the lived experience of demand-side-response to test the benefits, gain a deeper understanding of the customer value proposition and determine how best to sell these benefits to the consumer market.”

Living Lab analysis of the ALICE digital energy assistant aims to help Amp X test:

  • The potential for the digital energy assistant to facilitate demand-side response, provide carbon savings and reduce energy consumption providing associated savings.
  • The consumer experience, providing real world consumer insight and feedback on ease of installation/set up/removal, usability and the quality of the consumer-interface.
  • The interface between the digital energy assistant and a variety of in-home devices including Electric Vehicles, smart meters, appliances, and Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning controls.

In September, the Living Lab announced it had undergone a significant upgrade over the previous six-months – including a new digital integration platform that is truly open, interoperable and scalable.

With room-by room digital control and sensors monitoring performance, the Living Lab can gather and analyse real world data such as energy consumption, air temperatures, relative humidity and local weather.

The Living Lab also provides national capability to test and demonstrate market arrangements, policy and regulations with real consumers – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.

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