Project LEO

One of the most ambitious, wide-ranging, and innovative trials aimed to accelerate the UK’s transition to a zero carbon energy system.

This collaborative project conducted trials in Oxfordshire, aiming 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.

New market and flexibility models were tested – exploring new products and services to create new opportunities to benefit from the way energy is generated, stored, and used in homes, organisations, and communities. The capabilities of networks to manage smart, renewable, and storage technologies were advanced, learning what needed to happen to make electricity networks ready for a change to a local energy system. Local participation in the energy system was facilitated, ensuring that individuals, households, and organisations were part of the energy transition. Through Project LEO, it was demonstrated how a smart, local balanced energy system could bring social, economic, and environmental benefits for all.

  • Tested new market and flexibility models – we explored new products and services to create new opportunities to benefit from the way we generate, store and use energy in our homes, organisations and communities.
  • Advanced the capabilities of networks to manage smart, renewable and storage technologies – learning what needs to happen to our electricity networks to make them ready for a change to a local energy system.
  • Facilitated local participation in the energy system – ensuring that individuals, households and organisations are part of the energy transition.

Our energy system changed. Increased local generation and storage, electrification of heating and transport systems, and the rise of flexibility services to balance the grid in real time required a smarter way of managing the energy system. It was more than just wires and switches; it was a social system developed by people for people. As the transition to zero carbon energy was made, the changes required were as much about people and the way they interacted with it as it was about technology. Communities and people needed to be at the heart of the new energy system. Ensuring that no one was left behind in the transition to a new energy system and that everyone could realise the benefits was essential.

Case studies

The ‘grid edge,’ where electricity was put to use in communities, homes, and businesses, was crucial because the way energy was used needed to change as much as the technology and financial systems. Collective actions were believed to have significant impacts, and encouraging local participation in the new energy system was essential to ensuring everyone felt the benefits. Flexibility services, meaning changing the generation or consumption pattern of an energy asset, at the grid edge were vital to meeting zero carbon targets and creating systemic change.

We’ve created a self-guided tour around Osney, Oxford to help illustrate what changes have to happen at the grid edge.


The team:

Project LEO was a collaboration between:

  • Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks
  • Low Carbon Hub
  • University of Oxford
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Piclo
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Nuvve
  • Oxford City Council
  • Origami

It is funded by:

  • Industrial Strategy