Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

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Electricity digitalisation and smart energy systems in the UK - priorities for policy and regulation, investment, innovation, interoperability and collaborative structures, and implementation

February 2023

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference focused on priorities for electricity digitalisation and smart energy systems in the UK.

With the digitalisation of the energy sector seen as critical to meeting net-zero by 2050, delegates assessed what is needed to deliver a transition to a smart, flexible energy system at the pace and scale needed.

Stakeholders and policymakers examined priorities and discussed the pathway for integrating low-carbon technologies with the millions of new and existing assets that will form the net-zero energy system of the future, including solar panels, electric vehicles, heat pumps, batteries and smart consumer devices.

Additional areas for discussion included collaboration, investment, regulation, overcoming cybersecurity and data challenges, and the potential role that consumers can play.

The conference was a timely opportunity to review the modernisation progress made so far, and next steps for policy and regulation following publication of the Digitalising our energy system for net zero: strategy and action plan in 2021, and the more recent Energy Digitalisation Taskforce’s report calling for fundamental energy system change.

We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with Doug Cook, Deputy Director, Digitalisation and Decentralisation, Ofgem; Rob Saunders, Prospering from the Energy Revolution, UKRI; James Morgan, Head of Energy Digitalisation, BEIS; and Sarah Butler, Programme Manager - NZIP Flexibility Innovation Programme, BEIS.

Overall, key areas for discussion included:

  • policy:
    • priorities for supporting the rollout of digitalisation in the UK energy sector
    • reducing barriers to delivering smart, local energy solutions in areas such as infrastructure, data and interoperability
    • integration with long-term plans to accelerate decarbonisation - opportunities for carbon monitoring and digitally-supported governance
  • regulation:
    • support for innovation in smart energy devices and systems - maintaining data security and stewardship
    • priorities for competition and market structures - encouraging investment - supporting adoption across the energy system
  • integration:
    • the strategic pathway for connecting existing and future energy-system assets across the sector
    • assessing the options and planning needed for the streamlining process - preparing networks for diversification and expansion across digital assets
  • opportunities for collaboration:
    • data infrastructure - assessing options and practical issues for sharing data - responding to high energy demands across live locations
    • smart assets - cooperation between stakeholders to gain more granular data in areas such as heat pumps, solar panels and home batteries
    • digital security - putting collaborative frameworks in place to strengthen the cybersecurity of energy networks
    • interoperability - standardising systems and protocols to help facilitate the transition
    • demand-side response - growing the role of customers in achieving greater grid flexibility - actively managing energy assets - registering and integrating small-scale assets

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from BEIS; DAERA, NI; DIT; Department for the Economy NI; Department of Finance, NI; FCDO; GLD; HSE; NAO; NIC; Ofcom; and the Welsh Government - as well as by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords.

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