Energy Data Taskforce

Published: 2 July 2020

The Energy Data Taskforce (EDTF) was commissioned by the UK Government, Ofgem and Innovate UK to develop an integrated data and digital strategy that helps unlock the opportunities of a modern, decarbonised and decentralised Energy System for the benefit of consumers.

Run by the Energy Systems Catapult and chaired by Laura Sandys, the EDTF delivered a strategy for a ‘Modern, Digitalised Energy System’ centred around two key principles:

  1. Filling in the data gaps through requiring new and better-quality data
  2. Maximising its value by embedding the presumption that data is open


“I would strongly recommend the Energy Data Taskforce report. To be honest, it was game changing.”

Randolph Brazier, Head of Innovation, ENA


 

The Challenge

The energy sector is undergoing a revolution driven by decarbonisation, decentralisation, rapid advances in technology and the emergence of new business models. Data is intrinsic to this revolution.

Yet the move towards a ‘Modern, Digitalised Energy System’ is often hindered by poor quality, inaccurate, or missing data, while valuable data is often restricted or hard to find.

Optimising the energy system will require much better data transparency and access while ensuring appropriate security and data protection measures.

This is in line with the Government’s Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan that set out the importance of data and artificial intelligence to a low carbon, flexible, affordable and modern digitalised energy system.

Our Approach

The EDTF team at Energy Systems Catapult engaged with over 300 individuals throughout the energy sector and beyond to understand existing challenges, develop hypothesises and test recommendations.

EDTF identified that a staged approach needed to be taken to achieve a Modern, Digitalised Energy System in order to fill the data gaps and maximise data value:

  • Data Visibility: Understanding the data that exists, the data that is missing, which datasets are important, and making it easier to access and understand data.
  • Infrastructure and Asset Visibility: Revealing system assets and infrastructure, where they are located and their capabilities, to inform system planning and management.
  • Operational Optimisation: Enabling operational data to be layered across the assets to support system optimisation and facilitating multiple actors to participate at all levels across the system.
  • Open Markets: Achieving much better price discovery, through unlocking new markets, informed by time, location and service value data.
  • Agile Regulation: Enabling regulators to adopt a much more agile and risk reflective approach to regulation of the sector, by giving them access to more and better data.

The Outputs

Energy Data Taskforce published a report entitled ‘A Strategy for a Modern Digitalised Energy System’ which presents five key recommendations that will modernise the UK energy system and drive it towards a Net Zero carbon future through an integrated data and digital strategy:

  • Recommendation 1: Digitalisation of the Energy System – Government and Ofgem should direct the sector to adopt the principle of Digitalisation of the Energy System in the consumers’ interest, using their range of existing legislative and regulatory measures as appropriate, in line with the supporting principles of ‘New Data Needs’ ‘Continuous Improvement’ and ‘Digitalisation Strategies’.
  • Recommendation 2: Maximising the Value of Data – Government and Ofgem should direct the sector to adopt the principle that Energy System Data should be Presumed Open, using their range of existing legislative and regulatory measures as appropriate, supported by requirements that data is ‘Discoverable, Searchable, Understandable’, with common ‘Structures, Interfaces and Standards’ and is ‘Secure and Resilient’.
  • Recommendation 3: Visibility of Data – a Data Catalogue should be established to provide visibility through standardised metadata of Energy System Datasets across Government, the regulator and industry. Government and Ofgem should mandate industry participation though regulatory and policy frameworks.
  • Recommendation 4: Coordination of Asset Registration – an Asset Registration Strategy should be established to coordinate registration of energy assets, simplifying the experience for consumers through a user-friendly interface in order to increase registration compliance, improve the reliability of data and improve the efficiency of data collection.
  • Recommendation 5: Visibility of Infrastructure and Assets – a unified Digital System Map of the Energy System should be established to increase visibility of the Energy System infrastructure and assets, enable optimisation of investment and inform the creation of new markets.

The Impact

The EDTF report was welcomed by Industry (including Energy Networks Association, Energy UK, etc..) and the recommendations were formally accepted and endorsed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Ofgem. Implementation of each of the recommendations has already resulted in some clear impact.

Recommendation 1: Digitalisation of the Energy System

  • Ofgem were inspired to ask network companies to develop and publish their ‘Digitalisation Strategies’ which were published in late 2019. Ofgem have since responded to the publications and requested that these be extended and deepened as part of the formal RIIO2 process.
  • The Modernising Energy Data Access competition was launched by Innovate UK to improve the level of data interoperability across the energy sector through the development of a Common Data Architecture which has the ability to integrate with the core building blocks and any other data provider or consumer across the energy sector and beyond.

Recommendation 2: Maximising the Value of Data

  • Data Best Practice Guidance was developed by Energy Systems Catapult at the request of BEIS, Ofgem and Innovate UK, to develop a set of with principles, explanations, techniques and examples which help organisations to implement the recommendations of the Energy Data Taskforce.
  • Ofgem has announced their intention to introduce a licence condition requiring network companies to comply with ‘Data Best Practice Guidance’. This will increase transparency and create opportunities for low carbon innovators to access data which will enable a range of low carbon products and services.
  • Codes changes allowing the Presumed Open principle to be implemented quickly across the energy system are being proposed and implemented swiftly by code bodies, including:
    • Balancing and Settlement Code to increases accessibility to data held by ELEXON and BSC Agents.
    • Distribution Connection and Use of System Agreement that seeks to require each District Network Operator (DNO) and iDNO to create and keep up to date a public register of all sites that use their networks and influence the operation of the GB power market.
    • Uniform Network Code to further realise the benefit of the Data Permissions Matrix reflecting the direction to greater data openness by adding ‘Research Body’ as a new user type to UNC TPD Section V5 and the Data Permissions Matrix.
  • Energy Networks Association Data Working Group was reformed to bring together high-level representation from across the network organisations to discuss data issues and progress data projects.
  • FlexR by Electralink was created to help electricity DNOs (their owners) to standardise and grant access to data from across the network companies. The initial build aims to enable Electralink to share information about all half hourly settled embedded generation resources which they have access to via their access to the Data Transfer Service settlement flows. In addition, Electralink will work with one ‘pathfinder’ DNO to ingest and standardise their infrastructure data.

Recommendation 3: Visibility of Data

  • Office of National Statistics (with support from Hippo Digital) are leading the development of a national data catalogue solution to improve visibility of datasets across the energy sector. The ONS completed a discovery project in Q2 2020.

Recommendation 4: Coordination of Asset Registration

  • BEIS is working with industry on an Asset Registration Strategy to understand the user requirements more deeply so a solution can be defined. BEIS have now engaged Baringa to drive the work forward.

Recommendation 5: Visibility of Infrastructure and Assets

  • ENA Data Working Group has led the development of a cross network Digital System Map solution prototype.