Information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure is essential to achieving the ‘smartness’ of smart local energy systems (SLES), but currently it is not receiving the attention it needs.
To help researchers and practitioners to more effectively design, analyse and operate ICT infrastructure for SLES we have surveyed more than 90 academic papers and 62 practical projects on SLES both within and beyond the UK. Based on the survey, we have summarised and categorised the measurements and communications technologies used in SLES. We have also mapped the type of ICT infrastructure that will be needed for certain types of SLES.
We find that there is no one ICT solution that fits all. The configuration of ICT infrastructure varies. Key features are: energy vectors; technology mix; objectives and constraints and time horizons and resolutions of management of the SLES. Most existing ICT solutions are dedicated to specific devices, system configurations or objectives. Future ICT infrastructure of SLES need to be designed and operated from a ‘whole system’ perspective to be more efficient, effective and economical and from a ‘forward-looking’ perspective to be more open and flexible to changes.