Policy and Regulation change required to deliver Smart Local Energy Systems

Policy and Regulation change required to deliver Smart Local Energy Systems

By Jeff Hardy, EnergyREV Policy, Regulation and Market Enablers Lead, and Madeleine Morris, Researcher, Grantham Institute at Imperial College London

The UK is undergoing a rapid transition towards a net-zero energy system which will be more decentralised and digitalised than today. These future smart local energy systems (SLES) do not neatly fit into the policies, regulations and rules of the current energy system, which were designed for a more centralised system with fewer, larger actors. Consequently, they can act as non-technical barriers to SLES and their associated social, economic and environmental benefits.

Moving away from the current set up towards one that supports SLES will be a huge undertaking. EnergyREV will work with policymakers to deliver up-to-date evidence to support decisions to enable the net-zero energy transformation, particularly at a local level.

The Policy and Regulation team will work across the consortium, contributing to and gathering relevant emerging evidence and will also link to the wider PFER programme, the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) and with decision makers through the Policy Contact Group (described below).

Developments so far….

Sprint reviews

A series of rapid ‘sprint’ reviews are being carried out across the Policy and Regulatory Landscape.  Each review is focussed on specific SLES activities, with working papers on each topic being produced along the way. A report at the end bringing all the evidence together will be produced at the end.

A crowdsourcing approach is being used where all relevant stakeholders including academics, policymakers and energy sector experts are being approached to help gather evidence. We are also seeking feedback on the quality and usability of our outputs.

The outcomes of the first sprint on ‘Electricity storage and electric vehicles’ was released as a Working Paper in September, with an accompanying blog post summary.

The current sprint focusses on ‘Digital energy platforms’ used in the context of smart local energy systems. You can read more about this and contribute to the review by visiting our latest call for evidence.

Policy Contact Group (PCG)

We have established a PCG, which is a standing group made up of members from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Devolved Administrations, Ofgem and Energy Systems Catapult (ESC).

The PCG will meet regularly to discuss and, where appropriate, act on relevant and timely policy and regulatory issues, enabling two-way engagement between EnergyREV and policymakers. Initially, the issues we discuss will primarily be those uncovered from existing evidence, but increasingly we’ll be bringing evidence that emerges from the PFER demonstrators and design projects to policymakers.

Our first PCG meeting was held in July where we conducted an exercise to map PCG members’ most pressing issues onto EnergyREV’s activities. Some of the key themes that emerged include issues around:

  • Uncertainty, and its impacts on both businesses and policymaking
  • How to create innovation through open data, whilst balancing this with privacy and cybersecurity?;
  • Value & potential – what is the whole systems value chain and how can actors access it?;
  • Institutional arrangements – what’s the right governance level for SLES? How do we attribute benefits and costs fairly?.

Our next meeting will be held towards the end of this year.