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Regional Energy System Operator (RESO)

Exploring the advantages of a new kind of energy system

As part of the process of understanding how innovation can support the local area, we developed an innovation project called the West Midlands Regional Energy Systems Operator (RESO) project, with a focus on Coventry.

The project looked to explore the advantages of a new kind of energy system operating at a city scale, using Coventry as the case study and is providing a wealth of data to inform local action. The new system included local low carbon energy generation, storage, and management and integrated infrastructure to support future mobility assets such as electric vehicles into its overall envelope. The approach is replicable and could unlock local energy system benefits across the country.

The project was looking particularly at the governance needed to establish and operate a RESO, both at local and regional level. This intelligence is being used to shape our asks of Government around the future of the energy system and the role of places within this. The project was led by Energy Capital and delivered by multiple partners including Coventry City Council, Enzen Ltd, University of Birmingham, Camirus, University of Warwick, Electron Ltd, Places in Common, Western Power Distribution and Cadent. The project has now concluded and the outputs are being used to shape policy, regulation and the local energy system going forward, to support net zero and green growth objectives.

RESO Final Outputs

  • The project has produced key learnings on how important local governance is to achieve a smart local energy system which is cost effective, provides resilience and achieves our net zero ambitions.
  • It has also produced a multitude of data which can be used to evidence this learning. The key headlines were:
  • A defined role for regions, cities and localities in the UK energy system will support faster, more cost-effective national pathways to net zero.
  • Technical design simulations for Coventry suggest future customer bill reductions of up to 35% are deliverable under the right national and local scenarios.
  • The key elements of a Regional Energy System Operator (RESO) for Coventry include a local data governance capability (‘data authority’); whole systems planning and delivery capabilities; consumer and vulnerable citizen protection; and ‘security of supply’ functionality.
  • Local markets supported, targeted and encouraged by a RESO will offer potential benefits of up to £3.4m per year to Coventry.
  • 'Security of supply’ functionality essentially means ensuring city energy system governance does not create additional or adverse risks to either national or local security of supply.
  • The RESO proposals are entirely consistent with current Ofgem/BEIS proposals for a national Future System Operator (FSO).
  • A RESO model could be replicated nationally within (and potentially reducing) the current projected cost envelope for FSO implementation.
  • A preliminary cost benefit analysis suggests implementing RESO in the West Midlands will deliver a net present value of £721M over 30 years.
  • A progressive, least-regrets pathway to RESO implementation is possible starting with data governance and whole systems planning functions, and supported by rapid implementation of neighbourhood-level citizen engagement and consumer protection functions.
  • Regional and sub-regional consolidation of functions and development of shared-services between adjacent LA-focused RESOs is possible but not necessary for the model to be viable.
  • Alignment between administrative and physical boundaries of infrastructure networks, local authorities and RESOs would be helpful to reduce data and engagement costs, but will rarely occur without major restructuring in England.

 ‘The RESO Effect: A Smarter Fairer Energy Future’, produced by Energy Systems Catapult, aims to describe the benefits of implementing a RESO and how we are taking the next steps in developing this initiative. The technical summary report entitled ‘RESO Synthesis Report’ can be found below as well as the summaries of the key work streams developed during the project.

We have further data (including a full data catalogue) which we are looking to upload in the coming months but if you would like to talk to us about a specific data requirement before then you can contact Kate Ashworth via email.