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Open data ‘a catalyst’ SSEN says, revealing digital strategy

Image: SSEN.

Image: SSEN.

Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) has published its digital strategy, with a heavy focus on open data.

The distribution network operator (DNO) is consulting on the strategy, which takes into account the recommendations made by the Energy Data Taskforce on the value of digitalisation and open data.

SSEN’s vision, outlined in the strategy, is to use digital solutions to enhance social and economic value, deliver a leading experience for its customers and enable the energy system to reach net zero.

To do this, it will need to adapt to a new range of customers and partners, investing in technology platforms and ensuring it is aligned to a digital way of working.

Open data can be a “catalyst to the change” toward a flexible, decentralised system, SSEN said. Digitilisation is “crucial” to providing data in the right channels and formats to empower the energy ecosystem and foster new partnerships required to deliver system wide change.

It outlined a future where system planning, customer choice and system reliability are improved by open access to the data that exists across transmission, distribution and the system operatoions. It sees that data including infrastructure planning data and input from other utilities over time.

A key element of the strategy is a commitment to enabling a competitive marketplace that is underpinned by open data and provides a platform for trusted partners to develop new services and build “innovative” business models.

In its strategy, SSEN outlines how it will use its GIS connectivity platform to apply data triage and analytics to improve data access and quality to securely expose data across third parties. It will also build platform capabilities to enable open data across the energy system, as well as platforms to optimise network investments driven by analytics and AI.

SSEN will build the core data and integration infrastructure in preparation for sharing data in the future and commit to an end-to-end process digitalisation.

It is to make high quality metadata and a data catalogue available and it will work with other DNOs and partners to co-ordinate this. Insight from raw data will be extracted using analytics, machine learning and AI. SSEN is to base its future business plan on that output and further optimise it.

Andrew Roper, distribution systems operator director at SSEN, said the DNO’s digital vision is a key part of its transition to a DSO.

“Digital will be at the very heart of the energy transition and this strategy sets out what we are doing as a company to embed digital solutions and build a business model that is responsive, dynamic and ready to support the UK’s net zero ambitions.”

SSEN also recently submitted its RIIO-T2 business plan, making an investment case for a minimum total expenditure of £2.4 billion over the RIIO-T2 period.

It is not the first DNO to release its digital strategy. SP Energy Networks unveiled its strategy last week, which also highlighted open data as a key focus.

Stakeholders can respond to the digital strategy until 30 January 2020.

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