Digitalisation of Britain’s energy sector goes under spotlight

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An Energy Digitalisation Taskforce has been launched to deliver recommendations to the British government on further modernisation of the energy system.

The taskforce under the chairmanship of the Energy Systems Catapult will consider the market design, digital architecture and governance of a modern digitalised energy system.

Its goal is to deliver a set of actionable recommendations that sit at the intersection between policy, regulation and innovation, to challenge the status quo and deliver the energy system transformation that is needed to reach net zero, according to a statement.

Key objectives include positioning digitalisation as a core component of transformation, not just an enabler and accelerating uptake to enable emerging net zero compatible business models, markets and industry structures.

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The taskforce also will develop targeted digital architectures and a roadmap to ensure that digitalisation efforts are coordinated, identify digitalisation gaps which require innovation support and identify and present mitigation frameworks for the governance risks that digitalisation raises.

“Moving from an energy system based on a few key actors to millions of connected generation, storage and consumption assets that are dynamically importing or exporting energy cannot be served by an analogue system and requires deep digitalisation,” said Laura Sandys, non executive director at the Energy Systems Catapult, who chairs the taskforce.

“New business models and industry structures need to be enabled that unlock value and ensure the stability of the system. Digitalisation itself will create new roles and responsibilities which will need to be matched with regulatory frameworks and governance structures which mitigate emerging risks such as digital monopolies and impact on vulnerable customers.”

The taskforce, which will have input from diverse industries including telecommunications, logistics and manufacturing, as well as from the wider energy community, runs until the end of 2021 when its final report and recommendations will be presented. The first output due in June will be a review of developments over the past two years.

The taskforce was launched by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, in partnership with Ofgem and Innovate UK.