Digital energy

This Briefing Paper will investigate the impact of new digital technologies on energy applications. The overarching objective is to understand the effects new technologies will have on the current energy system, the new challenges they will pose, and the policies and regulatory measures which will assist in making them a success.

Specific aims and foci of the paper will be to:

  1. Provide an introduction for the general reader to new digital technologies with energy applications which have or are reaching maturity in the last decade. These would include big data technologies, AI, machine learning, embedded technologies, peer-to-peer interactions and the Internet of Things. 
  2. Investigate applications for digital technologies across the energy system, including supply, transport, buildings, networks/systems and energy modelling. 
  3. Challenges and concerns with increased energy system digitalisation, including cyber-security, customer data and privacy and regulation.
  4. Policy recommendations for increased incorporation of digitalisation, including recommendations for managing risk and challenges.

This Briefing Paper will add to the discussion surrounding digitalisation of energy, especially as it applies to the UK. Part of the evidence base for the paper will arise from an interdisciplinary workshop and one-to-one discussions with academics in Imperial College working on data and ICT research. 

  • Is a digital future the same as a decarbonised future?
  • Consumers – data, privacy, business models
  • Energy system modelling – how can AI, machine learning and big data improve it?
  • Cyber-security – important for organisations as well as networks.

During the preparation for the briefing paper Energy Futures Lab produced a Scoping Note on the topic.