Earlier this year, the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, established by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ofgem and Innovate UK published a series of recommendations to develop a modern, decarbonised digital energy system.
I set up Icebreaker One to help address the challenges highlighted in this report.
It’s an essential step to the transformation needed in our energy system to reach Net Zero. Decarbonising our energy system means integrating millions more renewable energy installations, as well as sources of moveable demand like EVs and heat pumps. That will only be manageable if data can be shared – securely, efficiently, and in real-time.
National data infrastructure
At Icebreaker One, we are creating a web of net-zero data so that investment and action are better directed towards Net Zero.
Central to this is Icebreaker One’s Open Energy programme. Open Energy makes it easy to search, access and securely share both commercial and open energy data. It does this by creating an open marketplace for energy data; and common standards that address cohesion and interoperability and radically reduce the costs of data-sharing.
Why Open Energy is essential to delivery of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce Recommendations
1. Open Energy is the Data Sharing Fabric the energy system needs
The recommendations call for Data Sharing Fabric: “the governance, administrative and technological solution for the management of access to Shared Data across organisations.” This will form part of the networked Digital Spine covering the entire energy system, and is essential to interoperability.
Open Energy delivers the Data Sharing Fabric.
The Open Energy programme helps deliver all parts of the Fabric. Discoverability of both Open and Shared data is delivered through Search. Common data sharing standards deliver strong governance created by the industry for the industry. The development of Search and Access Control features at openenergy.org.uk deliver technology required to enable data sharing, some of which will be automatable in future. Finally the industry-led Open Energy team administers the service and provides an accessible forum to unpack emerging questions, industry needs and use-cases.
The report recognises this, highlighting that “there has been some fantastic work in this space, funded through the Modernising Energy Data Access funding competition and delivered by Icebreaker One. This competitive process has resulted in Open Energy which is currently in Pilot and could be the basis for further development.”
The report’s independent analysis of governance solutions calls Open Energy:
“An obvious candidate for leading the sector’s co-investment on the topic of making data sharing easy, including data authentication and compliance with open-by-default licencing as well as associated required data formats.”
“Valuable sector initiatives can be sustained by giving them a mandate and budget to perform as the sector’s orchestrators and the designers of change for shared challenges.”
2. Open Energy helps unlock the value of customer actions and assets
This recommendation encourages the sharing of ‘depersonalised smart meter data’ required for public interest use-cases. Open Energy can help facilitate this as our infrastructure allows for the sharing of anonymised smart meter data.
3. Open Energy enables carbon monitoring and accounting
The ability to share carbon data underpins this recommendation. Open Energy can facilitate sharing both Open and Shared carbon data. Open Energy can integrate sharing of carbon data alongside other data types required to build a holistic picture of the energy system’s progress towards Net Zero. This enables actors to bring together data requests from different sources.
4. Open Energy drives forward a digitalisation culture in the energy system
Open Energy has demonstrated strong digital leadership by embedding an agile digital culture within our organisation and through constant learning/collaboration with other sectors such as banking and telecoms.
We also use a use case-based approach that encourages whole-systems thinking and engagement of a diverse range of actors around specific use-cases that are valuable to Net Zero.
Finally, through our use-case development, Advisory Groups and User Testing, we have supported a variety of stakeholders to work through knotty problems and to build skills and resources that can help to embed digitalisation cultures within their own organisations.
5. Open Energy uses financial-grade security measures
Recommendation 4 promotes the adoption of digital security measures.
Open Energy’s technical infrastructure complies with high standards of data security and data protection. It uses financial-grade APIs to enable safe data-sharing.
Our technical infrastructure integrates with a trust framework developed through extensive open sector consultation. The combination of these two elements creates a secure and tested environment for data-sharing.
6. Open Energy leads the world on delivering public interest infrastructure using open methodologies
Open Energy supports the principles underpinning this set of recommendations, and the creation of all public interest digital assets. We do this through our non-profit status, use of open working methodologies and development of open source software.
These features show that Open Energy is the most appropriate entity to support data-sharing required for delivery of the digital spine; working in a non-proprietary manner ‘for the sector by the sector’ for the purposes of delivering net zero.
Our work is non-profit, consultative and open. As well as supporting holistic delivery of these recommendations, Open Energy shows proactive leadership in driving change to industry culture and values that align with the report.