By Christina Francis, Camilla Thomson, David Ingram, Alessa Sierra Costa, School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh
Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES) have the potential to deliver a wide range of multiple benefits, such as improved living and environmental conditions, more affordable energy and local job creation among others. Evidence that demonstrates progress toward delivering these benefits could help gain political support and wider investment in smart local energy projects. However, determining exactly what should be measured, and how, is not clear.
The EnergyREV research consortium are trying to help understand how successful SLES will continue to attract investment and deliver benefits to communities. This will help to develop a tool to assist project developers to make broad assessments of SLES going forward.
The 3rd in a series of workshops was held on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th February 2020 in London with the wider stakeholder community including businesses, consultancies, financial services, funders, researchers, regulators and other advisors, as well as representatives from the PFER demonstrator and design projects. Facilitated discussions using a World Café format were carried out to examine key issues surrounding SLES. Insights from over 50 attendees helped refine and simplify the structure of the multi-criteria assessment (MCA) framework and to the associated performance metrics.
The workshop concluded that the initially proposed 10 of key themes for the SLES will be reduced by combining Economics with Business and Finance; and Data Security with Data Connectivity. Important metrics and key indicators were identified which will be taken forward.
The purpose and target audience for the assessment tool being developed was clarified. The tool will complement other evaluations in the SLES sector and PFER programme and provide a basis for the design and assessment of future SLES. Later in the year, stakeholder engagements and focus groups will be used to finalise an initial version of the tool.