Modernising Energy Data Access – Data Interfaces

Published: 13 August 2021

Data is the single biggest enabler of a decarbonised, decentralised and digitised energy future. It’s the tool that will bridge the gap between where we are now versus where we need to be – to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Modernising Energy Data Access (MEDA) competition was set up by Innovate UK and the Modernising Energy Data group to help develop the concept of a Common Data Architecture (CDA) for the Energy Sector.

For a common data architecture to be successful, it will need to be able to integrate with some of the most commonly required data sources. However, many datasets which exist within the energy sector are non-standardised or not accessible in a machine-readable format, which can ultimately make them incompatible within the common data architecture.

An interface brings together two or more separate components of a computing system information exchange. This exchange can take place between software, devices or humans and an easy to use and interpret interface is key to the longevity of a device or service.

Data interfaces should be able to not only present data to the user but should be able to provide the metadata needed in order to use that data correctly and in the most efficient way possible. Within energy, data is stored and presented in a variety of ways, and often is in formats that require input from the end-user to get them in a format that is usable.

Key points

Energy Systems Catapult has created two minimum viable product Data Interfaces, hosted on the USmart Data platform, which are able to both visualise complex energy data and integrate with the overarching MEDA solution.

In this phase of works we have carried out a scoping activity using the Energy Data User Needs Template with the participants of the MEDApps competition to identify what the common data needs are for SMEs running innovation projects. There were common data needs between the projects, and so we chose two areas from this research.

  • Embedded Capacity Register

Currently, District Network Operators (DNOs) must publish their list of generation and storage resources (>1MW), that are connected to their network. This gives visibility over where exactly an asset is located, whether it provides flexibility services, what its primary technology is and other capabilities.

We amalgamated all of the capacity registers that exist across the UK, in order to give a national view on where the assets exist over the UK so that we can identify areas of increased concentration and also areas where there could be the potential for increased penetration of renewables.

  • Energy Consumption per LSOA

Super Output Areas were designed to improve the reporting of statistics for smaller areas. Electricity and Gas consumption per Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) are published each year and can aid local authorities to target and monitor some of their energy efficiency policies by being able to identify areas of the UK currently off-grid, or areas where there is higher than average consumption.

When carrying out a data mapping exercise with the MEDApps competition winners, it was identified that many of the organisations wanted insight into how energy was consumed throughout the UK; however, much of this information doesn’t exist due to personal data concerns.

We have combined the electricity and gas consumption by LSOA area published by BEIS and the Office for National Statistics estimated population per LSOA, to give an estimated energy consumption per person for England and Wales.