User Acceptance of Smart Local Energy Systems: Key insights on public opinion

Published: 30 June 2021

The Energy Revolution Integration Service (ERIS) has published a summary of key insights from their national survey of public opinion on smart local energy systems (SLES) and local energy.

Capturing current public perspectives on the benefits and value of SLES, the findings aim to inform the approaches of innovators and policymakers shaping the low‑carbon energy system of the future.

ERIS looked across the smart local energy system projects and demonstrators that are funded by UKRI’s Prospering from the Energy Revolution programme to determine their common user benefits, services and value propositions.

Surveying a sample of 3,019 people from households across the country, the study posed questions on suppliers, trust and local energy to gauge public perceptions on current systems and potential future solutions.

Key points

The summary consolidates the survey findings into six key recommendations for policymakers and innovators:

  1. Increase public awareness of smart local energy systems to empower people to engage with future energy systems
  2. Increase public understanding of future energy systems to enhance public support for them
  3. Increase public trust in the energy organisations that they interact with to enhance support for future energy systems
  4. Effectively communicate the benefits that resonate with the public to make smart local energy systems more desirable
  5. Offer and promote propositions that are widely seen as favourable by the public to maximise the success of services
  6. Make energy services more appealing to the public by bundling technologies and services into a single offering

It is anticipated that the recommendations will help innovators target messaging and align their services with the desires of the general public, and also support policymakers in determining where interventions may need to be made, or what to incorporate into future programmes.

A similar study will be repeated in 2022 in an attempt to track public attitudes towards the emerging concept of SLES, which aims to support decarbonisation whilst also offering social and economic benefits for communities.