Smarter Energy Communities

On Tuesday 8th November 2022 Community Energy London held the second of three Technology Spotlight Events, focusing on opportunities for the incorporation of Smart and Flexibility services in Community Energy projects.

This event provided valuable information for community energy groups looking to engage in smart energy projects and those who may wish to work with them, such as industry businesses, local authorities and potential site owners.

The Recording

View the presentation slides here

View a summary of the Zoom chat here

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Topics Covered

  • The Route to a Smarter Energy System
  • Energy Local Clubs
  • Flex Community
  • Distributed Future Energy Scenarios for London, and Local Area Planning

Resources mentioned in this webinar:

Community Energy London resources:

REA resources comments:

Market-Wide Half Hourly Settlement

Market-Wide Half Hourly Settlement will be introduced from October 2025 (this will introduce the option for Agile Octopus-type tariffs for all and at a more granular (half hourly) basis:

On VAT exemptions 

Community groups and charities are NOT exempt from VAT. The usual rules apply in terms of registering for VAT and so on.  So the VAT reduction will benefit community groups too, but they are also subject to the standard rates where they apply.  Summary of charities tax treatment here (and seek professional advice):

Aggregation of energy sales

Local marketplaces have been trialled, eg a Centrica project in Cornwall.  There is still no overarching framework in place to enable such local markets or aggreegation that I am aware of – hopefully the mooted Local Electricity Bill would address this, but it is a long running campaign I would suggest and unlikely to come to fruition soon (unfortunately!  The best hope is for adoption via a Private Members Bill).     The GLA has also been developing the ‘Licence Lite’ model for smaller projects to undertake the direct sale of their power to an offtaker without requiring a licenced supplier, but this has been stalled for a few years as I understand (though Syed/others may know more?)

Keeping track of solar /storage ‘embedded generation’ installations

As mentioned the grid companies (via ENA, their trade body) run an Embedded Capacity Register – this currently goes down to sites of 1MW+ but the proposal is to increase the granularity down to 50 kWp.  This is UKPN’s register:

At the smaller scale, MCS has recorded all MCS installations (covers all FiT and in theory SEG projects, since 2008.  They have just this week luanched an online data dashboard.  You can access this here:

PAS 1878:2021 

This PAS covers Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) in terms of technical requirements for devices and is of most relevance to manufacturers and maintainers of equipment.  It sets a base level of requiremnts for kit to be classified as an ESA.   You can request a free copy here:

UKPN resources comments:

Open Data to kick start Net Zero plans in communities across the UK

The pioneering approach to data is providing 100 datasets all in one place. In partnership with regen, local authorities including Essex County Council and the Greater London Authority, UK Power Networks has identified a series of datasets needed to support the most pressing local net zero planning challenges. They are available for anyone to use, on UK Power Networks’ Open Data Portal and will be continuously updated.

Check it out: Local Area Energy Planning — UK Power Networks (

Tell us what other data themes, uses cases or datasets you wish to see evolved or included: Welcome to the Local Area Energy Planning data feedback process!

A free self-service digital planning tool under development to support the best choices for communities in developing their Local Area Energy Plans

UK Power Networks are developing a free ‘self-service Local Area Energy Planning (LAEP) tool’ via innovation project, Collaborative Local Energy Optimisation (CLEO) to make it easier for Local Authorities and wider local stakeholders to develop their local area energy plans and plan decarbonisation.

Fast following the gaming software industry, a design-led approach has been adopted, collaborating with design thinking specialists That Project Studio. UK Power Networks and project collaborators,  Energy Systems Catapult, Buro Happold, Community Energy South and That Project Studio (TPS) have been engaging with Local Authorities through a number of online meetings and an all-day workshop regarding use cases, requirements and design of the tool. The findings from the engagement have directly shaped the requirements in the market tender that is live to select a provider of the digital tool.

Learn more:

Get in touch with UKPN 

with UK Power Networks Local Area Energy Planning team at [email protected]

#SmarterEnergy Communities

If you have any questions about this event or series please email Jess – [email protected]

For more general queries please email [email protected]