This chapter outlines the initial findings of a smart local energy system (SLES) demonstrator that at inception contained 1.96 MWp of renewable generation, 24 MWhp of electrical storage, 3.87 MWp of EV charging, 3.49 MWth of heat pump outputs and 36 kg/h of proton exchange membrane (PEM) H2 electrolyser. The platform for deploying these assets was 250 homes and 40 commercial sites in England. As well as decarbonising heating, power and transport sectors, this demonstrator was intended to be collectively controlled by a virtual asset manager that could facilitate additional cost and carbon optimisation, grid services and demonstration of SLES revenue streams. Project challenges included the multi-sectoral integration (and modelling) of assets, characterising flexibility (i.e. number of cycles before failure) for thermal and hydrogen assets, local vs. global optimisation of distributed components, ownership and management of real-time data, contract formats that encouraged maximum asset flexibility, de-risking upfront investment and achieving sustainable business models.
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