Can we harness the power of local energy data to help deliver a net zero future?

Published: 1 October 2020

Imagine a world where energy suppliers and service providers use data from smart meters and smart thermostats, energy networks and local area energy plans to design tailored packages of low carbon products and services for households that deliver greater comfort at a price people are willing to pay

A world where network operators use data from satellites in combination with network assets and local spatial data to help monitor, inspect and repair infrastructure in remote locations. Where electric vehicle charge point operators use road traffic, vehicle and energy network data to plan provision and manage operations of smart charging at different locations. Where healthcare providers use a combination of health, smart meter and home heating schedule data to prescribe home improvements and supporting services that improve health and tackle fuel poverty in a more cost-effective way.

To deliver the UK commitment to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, we need to harness the application of data and deliver more sophisticated, integrated and digitally enabled solutions that deliver value and better outcomes for individual households, small businesses, communities, large commercial and industrial energy consumers.

Enabling access to data is a critical first step. The Energy Data Taskforce (EDTF) has catalysed the opening up of data across the energy system and the Modernising Energy Data Access programme has progressed this even further and network digitalisation strategies confirm support and commitment to adopt the EDTF  recommendations. However, opening and improving access to data is just a first step (albeit critical). More open data must be used and applied to deliver value and benefit for the UK economy recognising that our Net Zero commitment has the potential to create new industries and provide the jobs of the future.

In recent years, Energy Systems Catapult has worked with Government, UKRI, Ofgem, and innovators to explore the potential for digital technology and data through programmes such as Smart Systems and Heat, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, Modern Energy Partners and our Living Lab of connected homes and consumers. We think a digitalised energy system and the application of more open data could deliver new low carbon products and services that appeal to consumers and are more cost-effective.

Access to better data in a local area has, perhaps, the greatest potential. For us to harness the power of that local data we need several different jigsaw pieces to fall into place. This includes national policy and regulation that supports innovating to net zero, a structured framework of planning and design to enable infrastructure investment at scale and pace in different places, and support to enable businesses to both access and apply data to deliver innovative solutions and a wide range of new products and services.

UKRI as part of the PFER programme working with Energy Systems Catapult and Regen has completed an initial discovery project to understand potential uses cases for the application of . This found significant opportunity from better access to data. It has developed a number of uses cases covering key themes of energy generation and storage, decarbonisation, flexibility and electric vehicles, public health, large and domestic energy use to support innovators in thinking about the potential opportunities for innovative application of local data and creating applications and tools to address current and future needs.

UKRI as part of the PFER programme working with Energy Systems Catapult and Regen has completed an initial discovery project to understand potential uses cases for the application of local energy data. This found significant opportunity from better access to data. It has developed a number of uses cases covering key themes of energy generation and storage, decarbonisation, flexibility and electric vehicles, public health, large and domestic energy use to support innovators in thinking about the potential opportunities for innovative application of local data and creating applications and tools to address current and future needs.

These use cases are intended to act as a catalyst for innovators to respond to the UKRI Modernising Energy Data Applications Challenge Competition launching on the 12th October. This represents the opportunity for innovative solutions providers to collaborate and develop valued applications for local energy data in delivering a Net Zero future.