Data, Nov 26, 2019

Is Open Data enablement the answer to the UK's Net Zero challenge?

Hamzah Khokhar

The UK government took unprecedented action by being the first major economy to pass Net Zero emissions legislation in June last year.

Read next: The three states of digital transformation in the Energy sector

It is widely understood that this legislation is a significant first step to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. All contributors to the UK Energy System will need to act fast to do their bit to realise Net Zero by 2050.

It is no surprise, then, to learn that Net Zero was the theme for the 2019 'Energy UK Annual conference'. One of the key discussion points was around the role of Open Data and how it can enable individuals, generators, distributors, suppliers and regulators to make better informed decisions.

Most importantly, it was posited that making energy data 'public' has the potential to transform how we generate, trade and consume energy.

It is prudent to point out that Open Energy data is the facilitator, not the solution, to reaching Net Zero targets. The collective thesis is that by making energy data more readily available, it will drive operational excellence and catalyse innovation, which in turn will lead to future industry developments that will contribute to meeting the  challenge.

By enabling Open Data, it allows the playing field to be levelled out. This will increase competition in the marketplace which will then trickle down to more competitive prices. Currently, only high-level national statistics are on offer which do not reflect the trend and need for a more data orientated market.

In today’s world there is a thirst for data to help drive business decisions and maximise efficiency. Open Data will enable more granular detail and real-time local data to be available, resulting in a higher rate of business efficiency.


However, because the UK Energy Sector is stringently regulated, it is far from being capable of achieving this. Established players in the sector have not previously been incentivised to gather and cleanse asset and generation data; what data does exist is of poor quality and closely guarded. 

The benefits of harnessing your data are well known and is clearly evidenced to contribute towards operational excellence within the Energy Sector. Data analytics can be used to forecast maintenance, repair and retirement of assets, and Smart Meters are the obvious example of how data successfully contributes towards business efficiency.

It only makes sense that open data will contribute to many more benefits which will help aid businesses in this competitive industry. The industry's customers are increasingly expecting transparency from their suppliers, and the renewed trust that would follow from being a front-runner in this field would be palpable. 

And, if Open Data is the accelerator that would enable companies to reach their Net Zero targets, rapidly enabling open energy data needs to happen now, not five years down the line. 

As experts in the energy field, learned through working with major international energy clients on global, complex IT projects, we have experience architecting and delivering successful open data platforms within the public and private sectors. We have rapidly enabled our clients’ data analytics and insight capabilities, resulting in financial and competitive advantage. 

With our approach to rapid data enablement, we can help you navigate the bewildering array of tools, platforms, and technologies available, to help solve your complex problems. We have built data analytics capabilities at scale – ingesting and unlocking petabytes of data for analysis whilst delivering iterative capability to the users – providing real-time customer insight in a matter of weeks.

Transforming energy company's data

Read more:
Energy UK Conference 2020: Key takeaways
What role does digitalisation play in achieving Net Zero by 2050?
Podcast: Is it good to adopt data openness by default?
How to design and implement big data programmes

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