How do local energy systems work in the UK today? Let us know your experiences…

How do local energy systems work in the UK today? Let us know your experiences…

Tim Braunholtz-Speight, EnergyREV Research Associate, The University of Manchester

17 May 2021

As part of the UKs effort to create a net zero carbon economy, our energy systems need to be rapidly decarbonised. Energy systems that are locally based could play an important role in enabling this to happen. EnergyREV want to speak to as many people as possible involved in local energy systems that are up and running to learn about existing UK local energy systems, to discover what energy solutions they include, how local they are and what people feel the next steps towards smarter local energy systems might be, to help inform others keen to take similar steps. 


What do we need to find out?

EnergyREV researchers from the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester are looking to learn about local energy systems of all shapes and sizes. We are studying local energy systems that are already operating commercially in the UK. The purpose of this is to help answer the following questions:

  • what kinds of commercial local energy systems already exist in the UK today? 
  • who owns them? who operates them? who works on them? 
  • how 'smart' are they? 
  • how 'local' are they? 
  • what business models are used to make them commercially viable?
  • what are their social and environmental impacts?

We think that we need to understand where the UK is now with smart local energy systems before we can understand where we want to be.  If you can provide insights to help us answer these questions we would love to hear from you – please get in touch! To take part you don’t have to be using the latest technologies, nor do you have to run an energy system which involves an entire village or even city.

On this occasion, by ‘system’ we are referring to the combined use of two or more of:

  • energy generation technologies such as photovoltaics or wind turbine/s;
  • transmission/distribution - running the grids and networks that move energy vectors around;
  • supplying and serving customers;
  • demand-side activities, like energy efficiency and building management.

‘Local’ can mean a couple of buildings through to a whole region, that are interlinked.

We are interested to hear from all sorts of organisations: businesses, public sector bodies, community groups and more.


Benefits of taking part

As a ‘thank you’ to everyone who takes part we will:

  • provide you with a custom-made 2-page report that will include an overview of the survey findings and an independently produced profile of the energy system you operate based on the data you provide. 
  • list your organisation name (with your permission) on a ‘thank you’ page in our main final report. This report will be an official EnergyRev publication seen by funding bodies such as UKRI. All EnergyREV publications can be found on our website.


Please get in touch with Dr Tim Braunholtz-Speight or Dr Dimitrios Pappas who are undertaking this study – send them an email and ask any questions you may have about this research.