Governments, regulators and the private sector are dedicating increasing amounts of time and resource to facilitate and develop local energy systems. It is easy to see why. 

If implemented successfully they can:

  1. Deliver significant bill reductions to end consumers;
  2. Reduce energy emissions;
  3. Empower consumers though choice and engagement;
  4. Reduce stress on existing networks / enhance energy resilience; and 
  5. Facilitate the creation of disruptive business models and drive innovation.

It's clear from some of the projects however, including the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Energy Market and Reflex Orkney, that the regulatory regime has not kept up with market or technological developments and is holding back innovation and the full commercialisation of local energy systems. The GB electricity and gas licensing regime (including the class exemptions orders) being a problem often mentioned. The Government is aware of the issue though and it is hoped by many that it will soon be corrected. 

In the interim, the Sustainable Community Energy Networks project in the Trent Basin is a timely reminder of the benefits all stakeholders (developers, consumers, network owners etc) can realise from the integration of community energy generation infrastructure and storage (and market models) in new residential and commercial developments. 

It also demonstrates what can be achieved at a time when the Government is currently consulting on Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations (as part of the move towards the Future Homes Standard) and the necessity of developing and integrating local energy systems to achieve net zero.