Enhancing user engagement in local energy initiatives using smart local energy engagement tools

To address the growing concern of climate emergency, the UK government has committed to a net-zero emission target by 2050 by limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C. Local energy initiatives can help in meeting this target by delivering cleaner, cheaper and desirable energy services for end users by integrating smart (digital) use of data and communication technologies to interact with users. Deploying effective Smart Local Energy Engagement Tools (SLEETs) in local energy projects that allow users to better manage, control and observe energy will help to reduce this pressure, while encouraging users to become active participants. SLEETs are enabling smart tools that enhance user engagement by supporting energy users to reduce energy use and energy cost, match energy demand and supply, improve energy efficiency and management. They also allow users to measure their own energy consumption and investigate energy efficiency measures and environmental impact of the energy systems. These tools can provide advice and support to improve energy use behaviour and help users to participate in local energy market such as peer-to-peer trading and grid balancing. For SLEETs effective they should address engagement between people and people and people and technologies. It is also important to improve inclusiveness of SLEETs by including vulnerable users and those who are not digital to ensure no one gets left behind in the local energy transition.

This paper examines the prevalence, effectiveness and inclusiveness of smart local energy engagement tools (SLEETs) that have been deployed in local energy projects across the UK and internationally to enhance user engagement and participation in local energy management that includes supporting users to engage with energy efficiency, energy generation and demand side response.

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