“Carbon targets mean business must share its data” says leading energy lawyer

The UK's 2050 net zero carbon commitment will only work if business is happy to share data openly, says the lawyer who contributed to a new Government report.

Foot Anstey lawyer Chris Pritchett has been advising the Energy Data Taskforce, created to advise Government, Ofgem and the energy industry how data can decarbonise and benefit consumers.

Their first report 'A Strategy for a Modern Digitalised Energy System' is published June 13, 2019. The previous day the Government committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050.

Pritchett and the Task Force believe the system will now have to move away from an obsession with owning data to being "presumed open" – freeing up industry to create huge economies and opportunities.

He said: "Open data has the power to unlock massive value from our energy system while at the same time delivering on the 2050 zero carbon target.

"System data is often currently a closely-guarded secret, carefully protected by government bodies, industry and privacy laws.

"But if data is shared in a way which makes sense, the opportunities for efficiencies and innovations are enormous. That only happens if we can move towards something more optimistic and future-facing.

"As an example, electric vehicles will generate vast pools of data. In the near future your car will need to interact with your smart home, your smart technology and the local and National Grid.

"That will only work effectively if your phone can talk to your car, and your car can talk to your energy provider. It doesn't work if they speak different languages."

Privacy still protected

Today's report comes with five recommendations:

  • Digitisation of the energy system
  • Maximising the value of data
  • Visibility of data
  • Coordination of asset registration (standardising data sets)
  • Visibility of infrastructure and assets
  • Pritchett added: "This isn't to say that individual homeowners' information will suddenly be made available to other people. Nothing in this report suggests GDPR or the Data Protection Act should be changed.

We're talking about big changes to big data for big results.

For more information contact Chris Pritchett at [email protected] or +44 (0)1179 154928.