Led by the University of Oxford and supported by the Enel Foundation, this international knowledge-sharing partnership of distribution network operators and community energy groups is paving the way to a zero-carbon energy future.

First introduced at COP26, the International Community for Local Smart Grids (ICLSG) is undertaking ground-breaking research that will be informed by the learnings and expertise of the partners. Climate change is an international challenge that demands local solutions. The partners drawn from Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and Australia are committed to securing a fair, cost-effective transition to net zero. To achieve this, the ICLSG argues that the relationship between communities and smart grids must be championed.  

For electricity distribution network operators, the net zero transition means supporting the arrival of electric vehicles, electrified heating and customers who choose to become electricity generators. Networks must be smart and adapt at unprecedented speeds to the new requirements for powering their communities.  Community energy groups are tackling complex issues to secure benefits to their local area whilst combatting climate change. Our partners are rooted in their communities’ priorities for net zero and are working to ensure their solutions work socially, environmentally and financially.  The combination of expertise that partners bring will be enhanced and developed by a five-year research programme, that will explore how smart grids can support net zero technologies in a way that is good for people and good for the planet. 

Professor Malcolm McCulloch who is Head of the Energy and Power Group from the University of Oxford and is leading the research, said:  

“From Oxford to Waikato and from Dublin to Tokyo, the climates and regulatory structures within which electricity distribution networks and communities operate may be very different, but all our partners are tackling the same problems of how to innovate and cooperate as the world turns to zero carbon technologies.

Our research will draw in learnings from partners’ smart grid and community trials and will identify and develop the tools needed to deliver a just transition to net zero.”

If you are interested in becoming a partner, head to our get involved page. If you want to stay in the loop with partnership news and research updates, sign up to our newsletter.