UK Power Networks has unveiled the UK’s first Open Data crowdsourcing page, giving unprecedented access to operational data and asking experts to help redefine data sharing culture across the utility industry.
The page is intended to be an invaluable resource for the transport sector as the industry continues to embrace electric vehicles – and has been praised by Laura Sandys CBE.
It brings together the company’s data for the first time, covering three themes: facilitating Net Zero, network data, and strategy and innovation. The company is taking a targeted approach, ensuring that the data is in line with the overarching goals of customers and the wider industry.
It is also running a month-long digital forum, during which users can post public comments and give opinions via e-mail or on social media. During this ‘crowdsourcing’ phase, UK Power Networks’ experts will answer queries and ask industry users what data they find most useful. They will update the page, release new data sets to the community, and use the page as a proving ground to continuously improve the company’s approach to open data.
Professionals from different industries will be able to use the page as a springboard for innovation, unlocking new analytics applications and using the page as a testbed for tools which deliver efficiency, carbon and cost savings to benefit their consumers.
Among the newly-published data is information on electricity network equipment, and a range of innovation and strategic projects including the company’s new Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES). Data used in the DFES project has produced three separate ‘scenario worlds’ modelled to 2050 to provide our region’s most detailed ever picture of decentralisation, digitalization and decarbonisation. The page is also home to data UK Power Networks has collected on electric vehicles, including locations and forecasts about where it’s easiest to connect to the mains network.
Laura Sandys CBE, chair of the Government-appointed Energy Data Taskforce, said: “The challenge of Net Zero will only be delivered through collaboration, and sharing and opening up data is crucial to our common mission. No one can do this alone, so it is great to see UK Power Networks launching their Open Data platform, and look forward to the success of this project – and even more data available into the future!”
Open Data follows the Energy Data Taskforce’s ‘Strategy for a Modern Digitalised Energy System,’ released in June 2019. Jointly commissioned by Government, Ofgem and Innovate UK, the report set out five key recommendations to modernise the UK’s energy system and drive it towards a net zero carbon future.
“Data is fundamental to the future of our economy,” the report said. “In the power sector, it is the key to unlocking system and consumer benefits and managing the fast-approaching challenges of flexibility, resilience and costs in the most efficient way.”
Ian Cameron, head of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “We know this is a first step in a long road, but we are determined to make as much of our operational data as possible visible, available and transparent because there is enormous potential.”
“Genuinely creating a collaborative culture around data has the potential to revolutionize this industry and help us build a modern, digitised energy system that’s ready for net zero. That’s why we’re asking the industry and wider stakeholders to engage, comment and tell us what data is most useful. Together, let’s use data to unlock the benefits for all.”
The new page comes after UK Power Networks released its digital strategy consultation in January, which set out its plan to maximise digital capabilities to streamline data collection and availability.