Home » Major utility providers launch ‘groundbreaking’ digital twin programme to tackle flooding

Major utility providers launch ‘groundbreaking’ digital twin programme to tackle flooding

by Liam Turner
A 'road closed' sign on a flooded road

Anglian Water, BT, and UK Power Networks have announced a collaboration with the National Digital Twin programme (NDTp) to develop a Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo).

Delivered through the government-funded NDTp, the CReDo will develop a digital twin across energy, water, and telecoms networks to provide a practical example of how connected data can improve climate adaptation and resilience.​

The collaboration will apply the UK’s capabilities in systems engineering, digital asset management, and modelling of the climate crisis to plan a more resilient built environment.

The ultimate aim of the project is to keep people safer in the face of flooding and extreme weather.​

The CReDo project looks specifically at the impact of flooding caused by climate change on energy, water, and telecoms networks.

It demonstrates how those who own and operate them can use secure information sharing, across sector boundaries, to plan for and mitigate the effect of flooding on network performance, and ensure reliable service delivery to customers.​

Asset and operations data from the three companies will be combined with climate and weather data to inform an increased level of infrastructure resilience.

The CReDO is the first of its kind in the UK, and is set to be previewed at COP26 in November.

‘A significant help’

Commenting on the project, head of Carbon Neutrality for Anglian Water David Riley said: “We’re incredibly excited to be part of this groundbreaking project.

“We have already begun seeing the real-life benefits that Digital Twin technology can bring to how we plan, construct and maintain our assets as a water company, while ensuring we remain on track to reach our net-zero target by 2030.

“Using the same innovation to look into the future and securely share data to plan climate change resilience across utility networks is incredibly powerful, vital, in fact, if we are to maintain service to our customers despite the extreme challenges we all face.”

Paul O’brien, research director of AI and Operations for BT, said: “The CReDo project helps us explore how to better protect the UKs critical infrastructure and services from the effects of climate change by collaborating with other infrastructure providers and top scientists from around the UK and by using digital twin technology at scale.”

Matt Webb, head of enterprise data at UK Power Networks, said: “The CReDo project has presented an exciting opportunity to collaborate with fellow utilities to explore and demonstrate the benefits of data sharing and the application of advanced digital capabilities to address the threat of increasingly impactful severe weather events as a consequence of climate change.

“The ability to apply advanced data engineering techniques to effectively model the way a co-dependant national infrastructure operates could be a significant help in informing and enhancing our long-, medium-, and short-term planning in order to improve climate resilience across our networks and benefit customers.”

Sarah Hayes, CReDo project lead and author of Data for the Public Good report, said:​ “We are really excited for what we can deliver through CReDo – [a] demonstration that connected digital twins can enable increased climate resilience and that collaboration across a team that spans industry, academia, and government forms the pieces of the puzzle that unlock solutions to reaching net-zero.”​

The project will be delivered through a collaboration of research centres and industry partners.

The Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, Newcastle, and Warwick will work alongside the Hartree Centre, DAFNI, Science and Technology Facilities Council, CMCL Innovations, the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, and Mott MacDonald

The project is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Connected Places Catapult, and the University of Cambridge.

Image: AC Rider/Shutterstock

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