This is an overview of four examples of innovative electricity projects funded under the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund (LECF), and the opportunities and lessons learnt for future projects. It includes learning from Smart Fintry, Tower Power, ACCESS and Heat Smart Orkney.

Local energy projects are increasingly considering using new and innovative ways to address energy issues. There are two main drivers for undertaking these innovative electricity use projects:

  • To supply energy that is generated locally to supply local consumers. This might offer consumers lower cost energy, with a higher income for the community energy project than selling at wholesale energy prices.
  • Necessity, where constraints, or costs, of connecting to and using electricity networks may be a problem. To address these problems may require use of technologies that have not yet entered mainstream use by the electricity industry.

These, and other, motivations are leading developers of local energy schemes to implement a range of innovative ideas, often bringing together a number of technologies for the first time. The participants in these projects often include stakeholders beyond a community energy generation project, for example: energy consumers, other local generators, electricity network operators, meter operators and energy suppliers.

This module is organised into the following sections:

1. Context: An overview of the drivers that have led to these innovative projects, the different situations where they would be relevant and a summary of the lessons learnt. This will help communities understand which, if any, of the innovations might be relevant to the circumstances of their projects.

2. Four Examples: Details of the costs, benefits, practical issues and the types of project that the solution could be relevant to.

3. Conclusions: A summary of the key features of each of the four examples.

4. Further Information: Useful sources of information.

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