Data is the key to future of UK energy system, says Energy Data Taskforce

Digitalisation and open, accessible data are critical for a modern, decarbonised and decentralised Energy System according to report.

The recommendations are stated in the Energy Data Taskforce reportA Strategy for a Modern Digitalised Energy System.” Run by Energy Systems Catapult and commissioned by Ofgem and Innovate UK, the Taskforce sets out five recommendations that it believes are key drivers for a net zero carbon UK energy system.

The primary focus is on data, in particular filling-in existing data gaps with new and better-quality data; and also “by embedding the presumption that data is open”.  The Taskforce, chaired by former MP and member of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Laura Sandys, also stated that a staged approach was needed to maximise the value of data. This included:

  • Data visibility – in essence, a complete audit of existing data and gaps
  • Infrastructure and asset visibility – a similar audit of system assets and infrastructure
  • Operational optimisation – a layered approach to operational data and facilitating multiple ‘actors’ across the system
  • Open markets - Enhancing price discovery through new markets backed by strong data
  • Agile regulation - Enabling a more agile and risk-reflective approach to energy regulation through enhanced data quality and access

Recommendations

The Report goes on to make five clear recommendations to Government, Ofgem and Innovate UK:

  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 existing legislative and regulatory measures.
  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, supported by requirements that data is ‘Discoverable, Searchable, Understandable’, with common ‘Structures, Interfaces and Standards’ and is ‘Secure and Resilient’.
  3. Visibility of data – A data catalogue should be established, with mandatory industry participation, to provide visibility through standardised metadata of Energy System Datasets across Government, the regulator and industry.
  4. Coordination of asset registration – An Asset Registration Strategy should be established to coordinate a simply, user-friendly energy assets register to increase compliance, improve data reliability and the efficiency of data collection.
  5. Visibility of infrastructure and assets – A unified Digital System Map of the Energy System to increase visibility of the Energy System infrastructure and assets, enable optimisation of investment and inform new markets creation.

A transformative process

According to Sandys: “Data and digitalisation, while not the sole enablers of energy system transformation, are essential to optimising the value of assets and infrastructure, driving innovative services, better understanding risks, increasing system resilience, and driving us towards net zero carbon and decentralisation at best value to consumers. 

"In addition, greater data openness will provide much superior price and market visibility, increase liquidity and drive investment into the right technologies, locations and solutions for the system, all delivering better system and price outcomes for consumers.”