In November 2021, following a public tender process, Advanced Infrastructure was appointed to provide an energy mapping tool for project LEO utilising Advanced Infrastructure’s LAEP+ software service. This provided an excellent opportunity to test and validate the value of geospatial solutions for local area energy planning.
Project LEO (Local Energy Oxfordshire) is a £40 million Smart Local Energy System Demonstrator project, part funded through the “Prospering from the Energy Revolution Fund” through UKRI. It comprises 9 core partners each operating across the energy ecosystem.
Regarded as one of the UK’s most ambitious, wide-ranging and innovative energy trials, the aim of Project LEO is to accelerate the UK’s transition to a zero-carbon energy system.
Project LEO comprises a range of trials across Oxfordshire to build a broad range of reliable evidence of the technological, market and social conditions needed for a greener, more flexible, and fair electricity system - including the use of enhanced mapping tools.
A need for a strategic mapping tool was identified: to host geospatial data and support teams across Oxfordshire working to decarbonise. Up to that point no on-the-market GIS tool was found to provide the energy planning functionality desired.
Following a public tender process in November 2021, Advanced Infrastructure was appointed by Project LEO partner Oxfordshire County Council, to provide an energy mapping tool for the Project utilising and building upon Advanced Infrastructure’s LAEP+ software service and the Council’s preparatory work to collate and integrate a wide range of relevant spatial data
The LEO-LAEP+ map visualises a baseline of the current Oxfordshire energy system and opportunities to decarbonise. This includes gas network data, electricity network capacity, Distribution Future Energy Scenarios as well as data provided for the project by Energeo Ltd and the Energy Systems Catapult.
The data in LEO-LAEP+ is being used to:
Through a collaboration with SSEN and Project RESOP, the LEO-LAEP+ map will also have access to granular LV energy network data critical to help identify, manage and mitigate the impact of new connections and developments on network constraints.
The second phase of the project has involved working with Oxfordshire County Council and climate action and planning officers across the Oxfordshire local authorities to trial the platform and the data. This feedback has provided valuable insights into the challenges and needs of planners working at the forefront of the local Energy Transition, and how geospatial information systems can help.
So far, the LEO-LAEP+ platform has supported the identification of sites suitable for public EV charge points through the use of data like network capacity, the availability of off-street parking and proximity to existing charge points in the local area.
The final phase of the project looks forward towards potential decarbonisation pathways by supporting users to model the impact of planned connections on carbon, cost and electricity network constraints.
Feedback from colleagues across the Oxfordshire local authorities has been hugely positive – simply having a single point of access to the range of data being made available is in itself really valuable but combining that with the filtering and analytical features available on the LEO-LAEP+ platform takes us many steps further down the line to understanding and being able to plan for the changes we know we need to make as we transition to a net zero energy system across Oxfordshire.