The Energy Digitalisation Taskforce’s recommendations for creating a digitalised energy system have been unveiled, spanning areas such as interoperability, security and carbon monitoring.
Launched in May 2021 by the government, Ofgem and Innovate UK, the Taskforce was designed to examine the energy system and provide recommendations to help shape the requirements to deliver a digitalised and decarbonised energy system, with Laura Sandys, chair of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, stating that without digitalisation, “the system will not be able to manage the growing complexities of a decarbonised system”.
The Taskforce focused on four key areas for its recommendations, with these being bringing value to consumers, accelerating decarbonisation, maintaining a stable, secure and resilient system and optimising whole system investment and operation.
First among its recommendations is unlocking the value of customer actions and assets, with this including building trust and delivering control through a consumer consent portal – which the Taskforce described as “crucial” – as well as mandating all large customer energy assets be energy enabled to deliver a seamless ability for assets to connect and benefit from the system.
The second of its recommendations is to deliver interoperability, with this to be achieved through the development and deployment of four Public Interest Digital Assets.
To ensure interoperability, existing assets can be built on but with a requirement for data sharing fabric, data catalogue and the development of some limited but crucial standards.
The implementation of a new digital governance approach and entities was also recommended by the Taskforce, which stated that governance around public interest assets, interacting algorithms and opening up regulated assets to digital completion will be important.
There should also be a Digital Delivery Body established by the government to deliver the public interest assets quickly which would then be subsequently handed over to the sector.
Digital security principles and interventions are also “crucial”, the Taskforce said, but these will need to be fit for digital purposes with particular focus on cascade impacts, zero trust principles and a sharing culture.
Meanwhile, much greater carbon visibility and standardisation is required, with the Taskforce recommending that dynamic carbon monitoring is put in place and an open carbon standard deployed economy wide.
Lastly, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) should employ a chief data officer, while investors and the rating agencies need to value digital assets as well as their traditional value assessment for infrastructure. This would help create a digitalisation culture.
“Digitalisation is no longer a nice to have – it’s essential in decarbonising Britain’s energy system, and will need deeply embedding into our energy system if we’re to meet our ambitious and legally-binding net zero targets,” Sandys said.
These recommendations follow the publication of the Energy Data Taskforce’s recommendations in 2019, with these focusing on the adoption of the principle that energy system data should be presumed open, the creation of a data catalogue, an asset registration strategy, a unified digital system map and the use of existing legislative and regulatory framework to direct the sector to adopt digitalisation.
The Energy Data Taskforce recommendations were all adopted by Ofgem and BEIS.
The government published its own Energy Digitalisation Strategy last summer alongside an updated Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.
The strategy included commitments to work with industry to simplify data collection by streamlining small-scale asset registration processes, improve the visibility and searchability of energy datasets by delivering an Energy Data Visibility Project and conduct a holistic review to identify and understand new and existing data and digital monopolies.