It’s widely recognised that energy systems in the UK need to change. Many people are struggling with high costs, and the energy system still relies heavily on fossil fuels and outdated technology. As well as reducing demand, there’s potential to use more solar and wind power to generate energy, but these sources of energy are more intermittent than fossil fuels.
Smart Local Energy Systems are designed to match local demand and supply of energy from sources like solar panels and wind turbines. This requires a level of flexibility and trust from households who both use and produce energy.
This comic explores how SLES can be designed in ways to make the energy system more inclusive, and allow people to participate in making decisions. Examples like co-operatives and local energy clubs can point the way, but it remains a challenge to include lower-income households.
The comic invites policy makers to learn from commons-based approaches in energy communities, allowing decisions to be negotiated and made at a more local level.
The comic was drawn and written by Tim Zocco in collaboration with a team of researchers including Adrian Smith, Gerardo A. Torres Contreras, Marie Claire Brisbois and Richard Flockemann at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. To read more about the comic, visit the University of Sussex website.