Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO)

Solar PV on an Osney roof © Low Carbon Hub

Osney Island is one of six communities across Oxfordshire that has been selected to help planners build the energy systems of tomorrow. The community is supporting efforts to:

  • reduce demand on the grid by generating renewable energy locally (hydro and solar)
  • experiment with battery storage of electricity from these renewable sources so that power can be used when needed
  • facilitate the adoption of more electric vehicles locally

Why are we doing this?

More of our electricity in future will come from small-scale local generation, and more electricity will need to be generated as cars and vans using petrol are phased out.

The Osney scheme is part of the Local Energy Oxford (LEO) project, led by Scottish & Southern Energy. The aim of the project is to find solutions to the challenges posed by creating a future ‘smart’ energy grid in Oxfordshire based on non-fossil-fuel sources. The increase in local generation of electricity and new patterns of demand mean the grid will have to be much more flexible than it is now, using advanced technologies to balance supply and demand over the course of the day.

What is happening locally?

Our local project is called Osney Supercharge. Homes and businesses taking part are having solar PV roof panels installed along with batteries to store the power these generate. The project will collect data on how much power each property generates and uses. It will work out the impact this has on reducing demand on the network.

Households are either paying for the kit themselves, or Low Carbon Hub (a Project LEO partner) will own the kit and sell the electricity it generates back to the homeowner.

The project also aims to reduce the need for individual car ownership by securing an eV club car for the island.

Who is involved?

Two volunteers from Osney are working with the LEO project team. They are:

  • Ali Lloyd of South Street (on the board of Osney Lock Hydro)
  • Simon Collings of South Street

They report regularly to OIRA, and will be keeping the local community informed about the project.

Other partners in LEO include the City and County Councils, University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University, and Low Carbon Hub. The project is funded by Innovate UK.

Osney lock hydro © Low Carbon Hub

The UK is committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is perfectly feasible but there are many technical, regulatory and economic issues to sort out if this is going to become a reality. By participating in Project LEO, Osney is helping to bring that reality nearer. The project will not involve any disruption to current electricity supply on the island.