Beyond the pilots: Current local energy systems in the UK

Tim Braunholtz-Speight, Maria Sharmina, Dimitrios Pappas, Janette Webb, Matthew Hannon, Fabian Fuentes Gonzalez

Research output: Working paper

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The smart local energy systems (SLES) approach to the energy transition often seems like a radical departure from the present day UK energy system. Much research activity examines experimental pilot and demonstration projects, whose focus on multivector energy systems at local scale contrasts with the national scale and separation of the heat, power and mobility energy vectors characteristic of the mainstream energy system. Nevertheless, outside of the world of time-limited and grant-funded pilots, there are local energy systems in operation all around the country on a ‘business as usual’ basis. An understanding of what they do, who runs them and who uses them and how, despite going somewhat against the grain, they manage to survive in the UK, can complement the learning from pilot and demonstration projects. This report presents the findings from research with the operators of 29 local energy systems across the UK. We find that, whether we consider their spatial scale, or numbers of customers, the energy technologies used and range of activities they undertake or the numbers of people working on them, there is a great diversity of local energy systems up and running in the UK today.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEnergy Revolution Research Centre, Strathclyde, UK
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde Publishing
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-914241-08-6
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


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