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Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES): A framework for exploring transition, context, and impacts

Ford, R; Maidment, C; Vigurs, C; Fell, M; Morris, M; (2021) Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES): A framework for exploring transition, context, and impacts. Technological Forecasting and Social Change , 166 , Article 120612. 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120612. Green open access

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Abstract

Energy systems globally are becoming increasingly decentralised; experiencing new types of loads; incorporating digital or “smart” technologies; and seeing the demand side engage in new ways. These changes impact on the management and regulation of future energy systems and question how they will support a socially equitable, acceptable, net-zero transition. This paper couples a meta-narrative literature review with expert interviews to explore how socio-technical regimes associated with centralised systems of provision (i.e. the prevailing paradigm in many countries around the world) differ to those of smart local energy systems (SLES). Findings show how SLES regimes incorporate niche technologies, business models and governance structures to enable new forms of localised operation and optimisation (e.g. automated network management), smarter decision making and planning, by new actors (e.g. local authorities, other local stakeholders), and engaging users in new ways. Through this they are expected to deliver on a wide range of outcomes, both within the SLES boundary and to the wider system. However, there may be trade-offs between outcomes due to pressures for change originating from competing actors (e.g. landscape vs. incumbents in the regime); understanding the mapping between different outcomes, SLES elements and their interconnections will be key to unlocking wider benefits.

Type: Article
Title: Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES): A framework for exploring transition, context, and impacts
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120612
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120612
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Smart local energy systems, Decentralised energy, Energy democratisation, Smart cities, Community energy, Energy transition, Meta-narrative review, Expert interviews
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119725
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