With decentralised and digitised solutions becoming increasingly prevalent, there remains a lack of clarity with regards to what smart local energy systems will look like and how they will deliver benefits, EnergyREV has said.
It identified five key issues that require consideration for decentralised solutions, including that there are some non-negotiable benefits. It explained that while some – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – should be integral to all smart local energy projects, others – increasing local self-sufficiency – may have differing degrees of focus for different localities. It also warned that the right stakeholders must be engaged from the outset, explaining that a project’s objectives and goals are defined by those involved in the development phase and if the wrong people are involved, these could end up misaligned.
Elsewhere, it noted that while understanding the boundaries around a local energy system is not easy, understanding the interaction between what’s inside and out of it is key to exploring the benefits and unintended consequences of local and national systems. EnergyREV further found that while there are many ways to be “local” and “smart”, the elements must be interconnected in a way that allows the smart local energy system to deliver on its goals and leverage multiple benefits.
On future learning, the report warned that building a body of evidence to support the scale up of successful solutions, drive policy development, and identify and overcome barriers is not easy. Creating an agile approach for evaluating what works will be crucial in the work to identifying pathways for replicating or scaling successful solutions.