Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Next steps for digitalisation of the UK energy system

March 2024

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference assessed priorities for electricity digitalisation and implementation of smart energy systems in the UK, including next steps for meeting requirements for its delivery.

It brought stakeholders together with policymakers to examine progress so far in achieving the target of a digitalised energy system by 2035, and the way forward for strategies being developed following recommendations outlined in the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce report, Delivering a digitalised energy system.

Sessions considered plans for addressing key issues outlined in the Taskforce’s report, including priorities for innovation and collaboration, promoting the uptake of digital technologies and tools, and wider challenges for integration of the growing range of assets in the energy system, whilst maintaining reliability and addressing concerns over grid capacity and efficiency.

Delegates looked at priorities for regulation in the context of the impact on market dynamics, sector competition and the power of consumers from a digitalised electricity system. We also expected discussion on support for stakeholders, including incentives targeted at the energy sector as systems transition, as well the future for consumer-focused initiatives, and strategies for improving engagement on the benefits of increased connectivity and flexibility.

With calls for increased collaboration across the energy system value chains, discussion considered frameworks for collaboration and data sharing across the energy system in the UK, as well as addressing concerns regarding cybersecurity, and data sharing and privacy.

Further sessions examined key roles, responsibilities and coordination between government, regulators and key sectors involved in digitalising the energy system. Stakeholders also considered how digitalisation fits into wider strategy for decarbonising and increasing efficiency in the system, and for the delivery of the UK’s net zero strategy.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Laura Sandys, Chair, Energy Digitalisation Taskforce; and James Morgan, Head of Energy Digitalisation, DESNZ.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • Policy:
    • what is needed to enable a fully digitalised energy system in the UK - assessing progress on recommendations from the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce
    • strategies for improved management, monitoring and sharing of data between relevant stakeholders in the energy value chain
    • coordinating the rollout of smart meters and other appliances - strategic planning for digitalisation and integration with long-term plans for net zero
  • Technology:
    • practicalities and logistics of effectively integrating new and existing technologies and digital assets across the energy system - incorporating data capture and AI
    • options for financing digitalisation of the energy system - incentivising investment in new digital tools and products
    • requirements for overcoming challenges for providing adequate digital security and protecting data
  • Collaboration and competition:
    • opportunities to help deliver interoperability across public interest digital assets
    • regulatory priorities to enable adoption and increase competitiveness - standardising systems and protocols to help facilitate the transition
    • latest thinking on the potential for digitalisation to contribute towards long-term goals for market flexibility
    • planning for increasing consumer participation and autonomy - building and maintaining consumer trust to work towards the wholesale adoption of data-led solutions

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Cabinet Office; DAERA, NI; DBT; DECC, ROI; Department for Communities, NI; Department for the Economy, NI; DESNZ; DfT; DSIT; GCHQ; GLD; GO-Science; HMRC; HM Treasury; NAO; NIC; Ofgem; and the Welsh Government - as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materials, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda