System Transition to Digital Energy

Lead Research Organisation: Cranfield University
Department Name: Sch of Management

Abstract

This study's overarching goal is to create a step change in our understanding of how digitalisation will impact on the pathway to decarbonise the energy sector. The potential of the Internet of Things promoting the integration of Smart appliances, Storage, Smart Contracts or Electrical Vehicles will underpin volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) scenarios that need to be addressed with architectural solutions, new value streams, and necessary frameworks for effective implementations.

Within this scoping study we will evaluate five emergent fields (domains) in terms of their innovative directions, potential impact and pace of change in order to prioritize achievable research themes and develop a research framework for future study of their synergies. This process will create a proof of concept systems model for use in analysis of the energy transition, thereby embedding novel analytical approaches based on technologies that we expect to find in operational energy systems in the future.

This proof of concept for energy transition will underpin a major collaborative proposal on energy system transition in VUCA scenarios demonstrating how cyber, physical and social systems are seamlessly interwoven.

We consider this scoping study is an essential precursor for successful transition to digital data-driven energy futures enhancing people's lives and interactions with their energy environment. The ambition includes identifying opportunities to capture real-world data, such as that from social media, smart meters, which suggest changing and novel patterns of energy supply and demand, and to use this to derive improved transition pathways.

Planned Impact

Energy policy and regulation

Need for integrated telecommunications and energy policies in an energy digitised world. London Business School through the Energy Markets Group will support a policy workshop for BEIS, OFGEM and senior planners to interpret consequences of low-carbon digital futures at the end of the project. IBM, one of our industrial partner will organise a Technical workshop to engage with a stakeholders group of the energy industry supply chain to explain Blockchain technology as key enabler for Energy Systems.

Energy strategy

Contribute to Energy Market Reform, Flexibility and Smart Energy National Importance targets through identifying new types of stakeholder, technology and processes in the energy system.
Improve Energy Efficiency Strategy by including ways in which cyber-physical assets (such as smart meters, or distributed energy storage) can support decision making toward reduced consumption, energy conservation including renewable energy storage, achieving enhanced energy security and a more robust and resilient whole energy system.
Improve grid and energy markets balancing through machine learning and distributed ledger technologies, speeding up and creating transparency in transacting systems.

Digital platforms for business/trade

Identify tools to aid maximum utilisation of alternative technologies across energy systems that will reduce entry barriers to the energy system and allow public and private, industrial and SME systems to have a role. It will provide new business opportunities in the market place and will prompt the emergence of new business models, likely to be services enabled by digital platforms and not product focused.

Academic impact

The excellence of the research will be determined by the quality of journal article developed as part of the proposal and its contribution to the landscape of energy transition through leadership. This high impact journal publication will trigger discussions and challenge current paradigms. Training a junior faculty member as the named researcher will be provided, given the editorial experience of project members. Academics in relevant fields from across the UK will attend the three structured workshops, and prominent academics from overseas will be invited to join and present at the workshops.
 
Description We have identified the need for aggregation of micro energy devices which together form a portfolio that can offer flexibility services, and in future capacity services. Aggregation may be for one or more purposes, such as community provision, economic gain, environmental improvement; but aggregation is essential due to the scale of micro energy devices which on their own cannot participate in an energy market.
Exploitation Route We have put forward a new grant proposal for funding: AGILE which has been funded by EPSRC with support from Energy Systems Catapult.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy

 
Description Engagement with energy markets, energy market technology, and electricity utilities, regulator and National Grid, which is evidenced by their support for the AGILE project.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Participation in Energy Systems Catapult/EPSRC whole energy systems developments
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description AGILE - Aggregators as diGital Intermediaries in Local Electricity markets
Amount £719,499 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S003088/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2018 
End 05/2020
 
Description UKCRIC National Infrastructure Database, Modelling, Simulation and Visualisation Facilities
Amount £8,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R012202/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2021
 
Description IBM - Block chain 
Organisation IBM
Department IBM UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Progress the thinking on energy system transition using block chain
Collaborator Contribution Event hosting, sharing technology insights
Impact New proposal submitted to EPSRC/Energy Systems Catapult - called AGILE
Start Year 2017
 
Description Institute for Future Cities - Block chain 
Organisation University of Strathclyde
Department Institute for Future Cities
PI Contribution Insights into use of block chain for energy system transition
Collaborator Contribution Attendance at workshops and sharing of integrated cities understanding
Impact Event proceedings
Start Year 2017
 
Description IBM block chain workshop 12 Sep 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The principles of block chain and specific implementation challenges for energy systems were reviewed
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description LBS energy markets group workshop 17 Oct 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 10 presentations with discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) STDE workshop Oct 2017/Nov 2017 (USA) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 10 presentations across these two organizations located in Denver and Boulder engaging with leading edge research and application of digitalisation to energy system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Project kick off and engagement meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentations from project partners, key note from industry, and discussion with a range of professional practitioners working on block chain and related technologies set out in the project proposal.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017