The transition towards a more decarbonised, resilient and distributed energy system requires local initiatives, such as Smart Local Energy Systems (SLES), which lead communities to gain self-sufficiency and become electricity islands. Although many SLES projects have been recently deployed, only a few of them have managed to be successful, mostly due to an initial knowledge gap in the SLES planning and deployment phases. This paper leverages the knowledge from the UK's largest SLES demonstrator in the Orkney Islands, named the Responsive FLEXibility (ReFLEX) project, to propose a framework that will help communities to successfully implement a SLES. First, this paper describes how the multi-services electrical SLES implemented in Orkney reduces the impact of the energy transition on the electrical infrastructure. We identify and discuss the main enablers and barriers to a successful SLES, based on a review of SLES projects in the UK. Second, to help future communities to implement SLES, we extend the Smart Grid Architecture Model (SGAM) into a comprehensive multi-vector Smart Local Energy Architecture Model (SLEAM) that includes all main energy services, namely power, heat and transport. This extended architecture model describes the main components and interaction layers that need to be addressed in a comprehensive SLES. Next, to inform successful deployment of SLES, an extensive list of key performance indicators for SLES is proposed and implemented for the ReFLEX project. Finally, we discuss lessons learnt from the ReFLEX project and we list required future technologies that enable communities, energy policy makers and regulatory bodies to best prepare for the energy transition.

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Testing and Evaluating Sophisticated information and communication Technologies for enaBling scalablE smart griD Deployment
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam (CWI), The Netherlands

Couraud, B, Andoni, M, Robu, V, Norbu, S, Chen, S, & Flynn, D. (2023). Responsive FLEXibility: A smart local energy system. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 182. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2023.113343