SSEN is working with key local and industry partners on Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire), one of the most wide-ranging and holistic smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK. The £40 million project, which is testing electricity network flexibility models and markets across Oxfordshire, is part funded through a grant of £15.2m from the UK Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
An industry-first, Project LEO is exploring 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, flexible, and responsive electricity grid to ensure value for consumers and opportunities for communities and market providers.
The project 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. It will balance local demand with local supply in a real-world environment, helping to test markets, inform investment models and, ultimately, assess the benefits of flexibility to the energy system.
The £15.2m of funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge fund, managed by Innovate UK, is supported by private funding from the project partners. This includes SSEN’s Project TRANSITION, which received funding from Ofgem’s Network Innovation Competition (NIC) Fund, the objectives of which are closely aligned to Project LEO.
Project LEO will bring together significant local, academic and industry experience and expertise, with partners including:
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 will run until March 2023 and is seen by SSEN, its partners and wider industry as one of the most critical developments to date in the transition to Distribution System Operators. Its findings is being shared collaboratively across industry, academia and with policy makers and regulators, helping inform and influence the energy system of the future.