The Power of Data

A digitalised energy system must be stable, secure, and accessible, with a reliable foundation of data quality.

Digitalisation of the energy system enables a range of opportunities for consumers and businesses. In an already complex market, these changes require regulatory frameworks and governance structures to mitigate any risks to cyber security and vulnerable customers.

At the macro level, government’s recent response to the consultation on the National Data Strategy recognised the importance of data in realising the UK’s net-zero emissions and UN Sustainable Development Goals by enabling emissions monitoring and data-driven applications and services. Government has also committed to producing a Data Sustainability Charter to guide sustainable data use and management (considering the whole data life cycle), leading into COP26 later this year.

Rapid change

A new Energy Digitalisation Taskforce (EDiT) was recently launched by BEIS, Ofgem and Innovate UK to consider the market design, digital architecture and governance of the future energy system. The taskforce will focus on understanding future digitalisation needs and gaps, considering the governance issues associated with deep digitalisation, and drawing on best practice from other industries and countries to recommend a delivery roadmap and solutions for emerging monopolies.

Digitalisation is essential to transform the market and existing business models, however, system stability, security and cost-efficiency are key challenges to achieving this. The energy system is moving from 400 actors to 100 million actions and energy assets in generation, storage, and demand. This rapid change is why EDiT will be delivering a set of actionable recommendations reflective of the interaction and interoperability of the new system before we see mass deployment.

Data quality

Big data, cyber security, and digitalisation are not new concepts in the energy industry, yet the high proliferation of digital devices within the home and distributed technologies on the network have propelled some of the key considerations into view.

Data can only be powerful if it is correctly collected, processed and managed. An Experian survey found that almost 70% of businesses experience the impact of poor data quality on their data and transformation initiatives. In the energy industry, data quality not only influences the ability to transition to a decarbonised and decentralised energy system but also impacts baseline monitoring and key business decisions. Data duplication, data mismanagement, or – even worse – missing data are common issues that can impact operational efficiency and customer experience.

The implementation of reliable, accessible, and trustworthy data management processes must be the foundation for the energy transition. As demonstrated during the deployment of smart meters, maintaining a high level of public support for data use will be key to unlocking its power and ensuring all market actors can benefit from a digitalised energy system.


What lessons can be learned from other experiences and industries to enable deep digitalisation of the energy system?