A new Energy Digitalisation Taskforce (EDiT) is being launched today by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, in partnership with Ofgem and Innovate UK, to continue the Government’s focus on modernising the energy system to unlock flexibility and drive clean growth towards net zero emissions by 2050.
EDiT will consider the market design, digital architecture and governance of a modern digitalised energy system and follows the highly influential Energy Data Taskforce which initiated a wave of energy data activity across government, the regulator and industry.
This Taskforce, like its predecessor, is run by Energy Systems Catapult and chaired by Laura Sandys.
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “Digitalisation is vital to reaching the UK’s ambitious world-leading climate change target.
“We need a smart and flexible energy system to harness energy from low carbon sources such as the sun and wind, to power our homes, businesses and vehicles. This means technologies – from solar panels and electric vehicles, to heat pumps and batteries – will need to be smarter, sharing information with one another.
“This is especially important with more technologies added every day to an already complex energy system, 600,000 heat pumps could be installed per year by 2028; and with all new cars and vans required to be zero emissions from 2035, the number of electric vehicles connected to the energy network will soar.
“We need to build flexibility into the energy system to enable us to use these technologies to monitor and manage system usage, improve efficiency, and provide lower costs for consumers. The Government will help drive the transformation to a digital, flexible energy system through a new Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan and the UK’s first Energy Digitalisation Strategy, to be published with Ofgem later this spring.
“The launch of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce follows on from the pioneering Energy Data Taskforce which shone a light on the changes we need and provided the right emphasis and drive for the digitalisation of our energy system to begin.
“We know digitalisation holds the key to our transition to a decarbonised and decentralised energy system, and we look forward to the recommendations from the Taskforce.”
The Taskforce will deliver a set of actionable recommendations that sit at the intersection between policy, regulation and innovation, to challenge the status quo and deliver the energy system transformation that we need to reach net zero.
The key objectives of the taskforce are to:
Refocus the energy sector on the challenge and opportunities of Digitalisation as a core component of transformation, not just an enabler
Accelerate digitalisation of the energy system which enables emerging net zero compatible business models, markets and industry structures
Develop target digital architectures and a roadmap that draw on experience from other sectors and provide the energy sector with a focal point to ensure digitalisation efforts are coordinated and effective
Identify digitalisation gaps that require innovation support
Identify the governance risks that digitalisation raises and present frameworks to mitigate issues
The objectives will focus on delivering actionable recommendations for two areas of focus: Energy System Destination and Governance. The former will focus on understanding the future digitalisation needs and drawing on best practice from other industries and countries to recommend technical options and a delivery roadmap. The latter will consider the new governance issues that deep digitalisation presents and look to other industries and countries to identify solutions for emerging monopolies and cross regulator risks.
Chair of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, Laura Sandys, said: “Moving from an energy system based on a few key actors to millions of connected generation, storage and consumption assets that are dynamically importing or exporting energy cannot be served by an analogue system and requires deep digitalisation.
“Digitalisation of the energy system is essential to deliver a stable, secure, and cost-efficient system that can unlock value in the new decarbonised, decentralised energy world we are building.
“As energy assets become increasingly distributed, including behind the meter, traditional consumers will become an active part of the energy system as their assets automatically respond to system signals helping to regulate the system. Some consumers will want reward for their actions and digital systems will need to ensure their control, security and privacy wishes are respected.
“New business models and industry structures need to be enabled that unlock value and ensure the stability of the system.
“Digitalisation itself will create new roles and responsibilities which will need to be matched with regulatory frameworks and governance structures which mitigate emerging risks such as digital monopolies and impact on vulnerable customers.”
The Taskforce will have oversight from a project board consisting of key members of the Modernising Energy Data initiatives across government, innovation and regulation.
The Taskforce will run from April 2021 until December 2021.
Energy Digitalisation Taskforce – Structure
EDiT is chaired by Laura Sandys CBE and delivered by Energy Systems Catapult with support from EnergyRev. Laura has a strong track record of driving meaningful change across multiple sectors. Energy Systems Catapult will draw on its wealth of experience and expertise in the energy sector, UK industry, and academia to deliver the taskforce.
The EDiT delivery team at Energy Systems Catapult will assemble a group of strategic advisors made up of leaders from other sectors who can stretch and challenge the direction of the taskforce and emerging recommendations.
Five leading innovative industries have been tentatively identified, including telecommunications, logistics, change management, internet (governance) and manufacturing.
The delivery team will also build on the stakeholder community that was established during the Energy Data Taskforce. Active engagement with stakeholders who are not represented in that existing community will ensure that the development of the recommendations is robust and that the final recommendations are widely supported.
Energy Digitalisation Taskforce – Delivery
Early in the Taskforce process, EdiT will deliver a review of the EDTF recommendations from June 2019 to understand where the sector should go next. This will allow the sector to learn from the initiatives that have been launched over the last two years
The delivery team will then work in sprints to develop recommendations for Energy System Destination and Governance. The project team will also engage with the wider sector through a series of events at the end of each delivery sprint.
At the conclusion of the Taskforce there will be a final report detailing the new recommendations for the sector, along with a set of dissemination events for the sector to engage with the recommendations and work towards their adoption.