The International Community for Local Smart Grids is an ambitious 5-year knowledge sharing programme to promote, support and advance the critical role of smart grids in securing a fair transition to net zero.

We are a partnership of innovative electricity distribution network operators, community groups and research partners. Convened by the University of Oxford, the partnership puts smart grids at the centre of this transition to bridge the gap between international targets, local ambition and decarbonisation, whilst maintaining network resilience.

Why smart grids? 

Climate change is an international problem that requires local solutions. Smart grids unlock local solutions, and support communities to play a greater role in the energy system that serves them. Our communities will sit at the heart of a smart grid-enabled net zero energy system. Smart grids are therefore at the front line for communities engaging with a low-carbon future, and will have a fundamental role in the manner in which climate change targets are realised. 

What are smart grids?

Traditional power grids use a limited one-way interaction, in which power flows from the power plant to the consumer. In contrast, a smart grid is a term used to describe an electricity network or grid that uses digital communications and technology to enable a two-way interchange of electricity that detects and reacts to supply and demand. Smart grids coordinate the capabilities of the electricity network with the needs of all electricity market stakeholders to operate every part of the system as efficiently as possible. This improved efficiency minimises costs and environmental impacts, whilst increasing system reliability, stability and resilience. These benefits are essential when integrating renewable energy generation and demand response, ultimately excelling the transition to a decarbonised energy system.

Our aim

Through a combination of knowledge sharing and ground-breaking research, the partnership aims to:

  • Identify how local energy challenges can be addressed and opportunities shared on the transition to net zero. 
  • Create accessible online resources to improve peer to peer learning and awareness of smart grid trials and their impact. 
  • Inform policymaking and industry best-practice through learning by doing and disseminating smart grid developments.

Who can get involved in the partnership? 

Distribution network operators (DNOs) undertaking innovative smart grid trials can get involved as an industry partner. Through this collaboration, industry partners can help to shape the University of Oxford research programme, promote their own key projects through the website and nominate a community partner to join the group. To find out more on our get involved page, or please get in touch.