Dr Maria Sharmina publishes research on the UK's local energy business sector
Dr Maria Sharmina and colleagues at Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde have published new research about the UK's smart and local energy business sector .
Dr Maria Sharmina and colleagues at Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde have published new research about the UK's smart and local energy business sector. The research is titled 'Characterising a local energy business sector in the United Kingdom: Participants, revenue sources, and estimates of localism and smartness'.
The research highlights the emergence of new actors, ownership modes, business practices, and value sources in energy markets. The study anticipates a “forthcoming wave” of local, smarter UK energy businesses, encompassing a rich mix of organisations.
Present are new, less-experienced entrants, such as universities, third-sector organisations, and local authorities, which address digitalisation elements, consumer engagement, prosumerism, and supply chain innovation. More established private sector businesses are also playing a role, but there are new actors alongside large-scale utility companies, even in the commercial sector.
However, there are no standardised criteria for what may constitute a “local”, potentially “smart”, sector. The research provides a first characterisation of the UK's local energy business sector through the development and descriptive statistical analysis of a database of legally constituted energy businesses. The necessary qualitative indicators are developed, to categorise businesses according to their position in a matrix showing degrees of “localism” and “smartness”.
The study suggests how energy businesses could better utilise smart systems and key aspects of localism, to decentralise and decarbonise the sector.