Jeff Hardy and Madeleine Morris
21st July 2022
The UK does not have the appropriate policy, institutional and regulatory framework to realise the technical, economic, and societal potential of SLES. This reort is a summary of the findings from a series of workshops that aimed to understand what decisions are needed to implement smart local energy systems (SLES). The work was led by the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, a partner in the EnergyREV consortium.
Barriers to SLES include the centralised nature of energy decision making, the unclear role and responsibilities of actors in the energy system, the poor business case for SLES, and the tensions with a just transition.
We asked energy experts to identify the most important changes needed to enable SLES. They outlined these decisions:
- National government should devolve powers, resources and capabilities to local authorities and require them to engage on, plan for and coordinate the development of SLES.
- Greater coordination between key actors, particularly Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), the Electricity System Operator (ESO), local authorities (LAs) and SLES is needed to ensure good energy system outcomes. This coordination could be facilitated by a new coordinating body that sits between national and local energy systems.
- Mandate open energy data and transparency, including from the DNOs and ESO, to realise the value from SLES.
- Require all energy decisions to be evaluated against wider benefits to ensure that the energy transition is fair and that the benefits of SLES are realised.