Western Power Distribution (WPD) has released the first wave of electricity distribution network data using the Common Information Model (CIM).
The CIM standardises network asset data by bringing together datasets from different types of energy network infrastructure equipment including transformers, circuit breakers, wires and cables into one place.
Describing it as a “breakthrough” in providing public access to key asset information, the DNO said the "substantial milestone" will pave the way for innovators and stakeholders to develop the next generation of smart energy solutions.
WPD suggested that low carbon technology developers or community energy groups could quickly map its network for areas with the capacity for additional solar or wind generation using the data, or identify neighbourhoods that could benefit from additional flexibility from battery storage.
It could also be used to investigate new network operating regimes, WPD said, adding that this would help to reduce the risk of power outages during storms or spikes in demand.
Jonathan Berry, DSO digitalisation and data manager at WPD, said that for networks to evolve and make the investments required they will need to have to work with “a wider range of stakeholders”.
“To make this happen we need to provide more accessible and usable data in order to deliver key benefits such as creating a one stop shop, speeding up decision making, as well as developing a standardised model to share data across different distribution network operators.”
Berry also pointed to how the project meets recommendations made by the Energy Data Taskforce, which released a report in June 2019 detailing five recommendations to help modernise the UK energy system and drive it towards net zero.
Digitalisation is becoming more of a focus for DNOs, with digitalisation strategies having been published by DNOs such as SSEN.
DNOs are also now required to create a standardised register for distributed energy resources (DERs) following an Ofgem ruling.
More information on WPD's data can be found here.