Community energy generation, aggregation and demand shaping (CEGADS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford


The Lower Carbon Futures group at the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford, will conduct surveys
and assess the effects on participants taking part in this project. In particular, we will explore through surveys and focus
groups what motivates participants to get involved in local energy initiatives, and which barriers to engagement may exist.
We will observe the impact on energy consumption and behavioural changes that result from participation and specifically
own-use/local use of local generation.
We will analyse consumption data from before and during the trial with a view to establish any demand reduction, flexibility
and carbon impacts that can be attributed to specific interventions as part of this project. Furthermore, our surveys will
explore public perceptions on the desirability of different measures to better understand which of them have potential to be
rolled out on a larger scale and where additional incentives or considerations need to be explored to ensure that demand
response can be provided willingly and to the benefit of participants.
We will work closely with other project partners to establish important balances between behavioural demand responses
and areas in which flexibility can be provided through other means, such as storage.

Planned Impact

The primary impact of this study will be to change the interaction between communities and local energy generators.
Through better coordination and cooperation between them we seek to develop business models that allow for more
effective use of renewable energy and thus lower energy costs to local energy users.
Results from this research will inform businesses seeking to engage with households and/or committees on key attractors
and potential barriers to uptake of new form of providing demand side flexibility. Product design, interface requirements,
operational characteristics, opt-out preferences and other features will be improved, based on the socio-technical
considerations explored through this research.
These insights will further help to develop commercially more attractive business models and allow to target service
provision at the most valuable areas (both in terms of network locations and ideal participant characteristics). Potential
benefits, such as carbon savings, and also less quantitative measures, such as degree of engagement and their underlying
factors, will contribute towards stronger and more robust business models for demand shaping solutions. These are
expected to be of significant value to this nascent industry.
Households and communities benefit in several ways. Better design of business models, reflecting the preferences and
perceptions identified as part of this project, mean that services can be better aligned with and deliver upon customer
needs. Undesirable interventions and requests for demand shifting can be mitigated through integrated solutions, including
the storage options explored as part of this project.
The effective integration of behavioural responses and storage, supported by novel Demand Shaper technology, will allow
for a better integration of local generation, potentially enhancing their uptake. This research seeks to ensure that novel
balancing requirements are provided in accordance with and balanced between the stakeholder interests of service
providers, local generators, communities and individuals.
This research further addresses issues related to regulation and policy for local energy solutions. Outputs from this
research will be targeted at policy relevant journals to inform the design of appropriate frameworks to support the
exploitation of the opportunities for UK businesses.


10 25 50
Description I/we have developed more effective ways of engaging householders with their energy use and involving them in demand response activity, as preparation for a future in which locally-generated electricity can be used as locally as possible, minimising strain on networks and the grid.

Overall, the trial, combined with commercial implementation of the business model, demonstrated that valuable technical, economic, and social outcomes can be achieved by localisation of electricity generation and consumption within a community-of-place- based organisational framework. The generally positive user experience reflects the support given to participants by the project team, allowing them to understand and engage with the novel technology and tariffs. The business model delivered useful financial savings for consumers which have been shown to be repeatable elsewhere, while the technology demonstrated the use of both electrical and thermal energy storage to reshape the daily of electricity demand profiles in response to technical and financial signals, to reduce peak demand and increase local consumption of local generation. Demand response was stronger for the automated mechanisms managing energy storage than from the simpler devices providing appliance scheduling, which required user configuration.
Exploitation Route The findings are being taken directly forward in an EnergyLocal project in Bethesda, Cyd Ynni. Indirectly, they are relevant to an H2020 project in which smart thermal storage is being trialled on a considerably larger scale than in the CEGADs project, in three EU countries. The findings were also requested by Smart Energy GB, who are investigating how they might best carry forward their work in relation to particular areas of the country/ community energy.
Sectors Energy,Environment

Description My findings have been used to inform the debate on smart metering, in relation to whether and how smart meter data can be used to help householders manage and reduce their energy consumption. They have also been used in relation to the more general debate about making energy use more visible and intelligible, the design of energy advice programmes, etc. Work on the CEGADS project has informed what I had to contribute to the Future Power Systems Architecture phase 2 and a BEIS workshop to discuss smart meter rollout. Sept 11th 2018: presentation to Wantage Café Scientifique on 'Energy: not all about the technology'. Oct 11th 2018: speaker, monthly Culham Energy Seminar : Electricity demand management in a cool climate - some theory and practice Dec 4th 2018: panellist, launch of Imperial College report on Unlocking the potential of residential electricity consumer engagement. IC, London July 2020: speaker, Oxfordshire Low Carbon Hub webinar: Smart Local Energy Systems: social, technical and operational aspects (in relation to LEO demonstration project, but building on knowledge gained during CEGADS) April 27th 2021: speaker, Highfield Residents' Association: Are we nearly there yet? Getting to zero carbon emissions, at home and abroad
Sector Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Member, Project Delivery Board for Future Power Systems Architecture phase 2 (led by IET + Energy Systems Catapult)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Description Oral evidence to Smart Meters Public Bill Committee, Nov 2017
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
Description contributed to smart metering consumer benefits expert workshop, BEIS, Oct 2017
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a guidance/advisory committee
Description meeting with Sacha Desmukh, CEO of Smart Energy GB, and Rob Smith, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, to discuss smart meter rollout, smart futures, community energy, local network management
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Description NEWCOMERS - new clean energy communities in a changing European energy system 
Organisation Free University of Amsterdam
Country Netherlands 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contributing to theoretical framing of the work; planning, carrying out and analysing case studies with energy communities in six European countries.
Collaborator Contribution Project management; theoretical development and lit review; a behavioural economics study with community members; engagement with community members, as assistance with the case studies.
Impact Internal reports only as yet.
Start Year 2019
Description Project LEO - Local Energy Oxfordshire. Developing a smart local energy system. A 
Organisation Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Leading the work programme on engagement and dissemination. Mapping stakeholders and designing stakeholder engagement strategy; gathering qualitative data on stakeholder views; planning and carrying out engagement activities with current and potential stakeholders, including members of the public. Assisting with development of KPIs and evaluation.
Collaborator Contribution Setting up a viable local energy system based on distributed renewable generation, storage and demand response. Developing a market platform for trading between stakeholders. Gathering, managing and analysing large datasets from a range of sources. Maintaining electricity services. Bringing new actors into the system and aiming at equitable involvement and outcomes. Encouraging new investment in renewable generation and associated activities.
Impact Early days; various workshops; no formal publications / outcomes. Disciplines: engineering, economics, data science, interdisciplinary energy studies, planning.
Start Year 2019