Oxfordshire set for £40m smart energy ‘overhaul’

A ‘smart’ local energy system, backed by £40m of investment, will be trialled in Oxfordshire.

Claimed to be an industry-first, Project LEO will explore how the growth in local renewables, electric vehicles (EVs), battery storage, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology and demand side response can be supported by a local electricity grid to ensure value for consumers and opportunities for communities and market providers.

Project LEO aims to replicate and trial aspects of the Distribution System Operator (DSO) models being explored by industry, government and the energy regulator via the Energy Networks Associations Open Networks Project.

Project LEO will bring together significant local experience and expertise, with partners including the Low Carbon Hub, The University of Oxford and both Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

The Oxfordshire area was chosen for the project location due to the levels of constraint on the electricity network in the area, the active and developed community energy partners and the ‘progressive’ approach of both local authorities.

The project is expected to run for three years and has been called one of the most critical developments to date in the transition to Distribution System Operators.

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry welcomed the trial, saying Oxford is set for a smart energy ‘overhaul’.

‘Backed by government funding, this has the potential to completely change the way people go about their daily lives – from going to work on an electric bus to using the heat rising from the earth to heat your home without gas,’ she added.

Leader of the Oxfordshire County Council Ian Hudspeth added: ‘I am proud that Oxfordshire County Council is yet again an important partner in such a forward-thinking project.

‘We are already helping to deliver transport options for the future such as driverless cars, as well as using new technology to enhance the lives of our residents and give better to access to our services.

‘Making sure that there is a sustainable system to supply the energy for these things is therefore crucial.’

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Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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