Benefits of flexibility of Smart Local Energy Systems in supporting national decarbonisation

Marko Aunedi, Enrique Ortega and Tim Green

9 May 2022

In this paper the impact of costs to consumers and the electricity system as a whole of adopting Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES) is assessed. The premise is that SLES improve local flexibility through demand-side response (DSR), use of local energy storage and self-consumption from rooftop solar PV. A whole-system model has been used to quantify the cost of a net-zero UK electricity system with and without SLES present.

We have found that customers within SLES schemes are likely to see a reduction in their electricity bills compared to non-SLES customers, driven by enhanced flexibility, higher self-sufficiency and upgraded energy efficiency. Deployment of SLES can deliver substantial savings in total system cost, estimated at around £1.7bn/yr in our central scenario.

System benefits of SLES are found to increase at higher deployment levels of SLES, but will also depend on the volume of flexibility present outside SLES. System value of SLES could increase further if energy efficiency measures are included, although this also needs to account for the investment cost of these measures. Implementing SLES without rooftop PV could reduce the overall system cost by allowing more generation from offshore wind; however, it may be less preferable to consumers within SLES who value self-sufficiency.