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Government backs creation of digital twin for UK energy system

by Sion Geschwindt
Government backs creation of digital twin for UK energy system

A project backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has developed proof of concept digital twins for the long term planning of energy provision.

The project has involved the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC), the Alan Turing Institute and consultancy CityScape Digital to support policy makers in the field.

It been run as part of the effort to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

It has produced two demonstrators. One has been created by the Alan Turing Institute to focus on visual presentation for non-technical decision makers, and provides accessible visualisations of outputs from the BEIS national buildings model.

The other is more focused on technical functionality for those with the relevant knowledge.

The Alan Turing Institute said digital twins could eventually allow policy makers to see the impact of different policies in the energy sector, including both national level decarbonisation indicators as well as a visualisation of changes at street level. This could range from installing solar panels on roofs and heat pumps in homes to electric vehicle chargers and external wall insulation.

Decarbonisation drive

Professor Mark Girolmi, chief scientist at the institute, said: “This joint project output is an important step towards helping the UK government to understand what they need to do to decarbonise our energy systems by 2050. This work is an excellent example of the Turing collaborating with government departments, catapults and industry to deliver essential innovation on societal challenges affecting us all.”

Further reading:

ESC said further work is needed to ensure that the outputs meet user needs and augment the portfolio of pre-existing modelling tools. This project highlights that questions remain around the technical and privacy challenges associated with granular data ingestion and how these should be appropriately mitigated within digital twin solutions, in order to provide full benefit to users.

The organisations have also published a report on the project.

Image credit: metamorworks/Shutterstock

Read next: Eight energy megaprojects under construction in the UK

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