This report introduces the concept of the ‘Community of MPANs’ a way for communities to work collectively at the ‘grid edge – where we use electricity in our homes and businesses – in order to aid the transition to a net zero energy system. 

The Grid Edge will become the epicentre of the energy system in the future as we transition to a zero-carbon energy system based mainly on electricity with highly distributed generation and a doubling of demand as millions of people make the change to electric vehicles and electric space heating. It will need to be managed very efficiently and smartly if we are to accommodate the numbers of assets required to work together in balancing the local network without immediate and massive investment in new infrastructure. 

Making these enormous changes quickly is a challenge because, among other system-wide complexities, the low voltage network is currently very dumb, apart from a handful of innovation projects, and operated passively. It is not generally monitored in real-time and so there is little granular detail about actual use patterns and how they are changing over time. Our nearly 28 million householders and 6 million small business owners increasingly want to take action to help address the climate emergency but generally have little knowledge or capability of their own to apply to finding solutions. 

This report introduces Project LEO’s Community of MPANs trials, that will attempt to grow our knowledge about the benefits of working collectively at the grid edge. We will develop and test the concept using exemplar households and places in Oxfordshire. 

The paper describes the Community of MPANs concept, what we expect the benefits of implementing it to be, the exemplar places where trials will run, what services and products will form part of the trials and what the learning outcomes are that we expect to get from the trials.