Digital Twins: Model, Shadow, Twin - The case for policy use

Policymakers should be leveraging all available digital tools and techniques – including digital twins – to demonstrate and evidence the implications of their policy interventions, according to a key recommendation from a new white paper by Energy Systems Catapult – Digital Twins: Model, Shadow, Twin – The case for policy uses.

Research found that the benefits of digital twin technologies are better understood for use cases pertaining to the operation of the energy system, but the benefits and use cases for policy makers are often not examined.

This paper sets out what digital twin technologies are, the benefits of them for policy makers and some near-term use cases that government and Ofgem could leverage to improve the policy process in the energy sector.

Key points

Digital twin technologies are increasingly utilised for system operation purposes, yet they also offer an opportunity for government and regulators to build evidence and highlight the impacts of possible future policy decisions, as well as retrospectively measure the impact of those already in train.

At a high level, the following use cases for digital twin technologies in policy work, can be enabled in the future, including:

  • Simulating the energy system for edge case events / national security scenarios
  • Modelling forward long-term impacts and trajectory of the current system arrangements
  • Scenario building for different high-level goals, such as net zero by earlier dates or certain levels of offshore wind with limited curtailment
  • Utilise full digital twin technologies and enabling system operator(s) to make limited policy changes via the digital tools in real time
  • Testing options for optimising for different outcomes in a net zero system, such lowest overall system cost, or highest offshore wind penetration via North Sea build out
  • Generating better/more digestible insights for consumers.

Read the Report

Digital Twins: Model, Shadow, Twin - The case for policy use

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