Innovation That Matters

| Photo source SP Energy Networks

A digital twin of the UK electricity network

Agriculture & Energy

An AI-powered digital twin of the entire UK electricity network is being developed to help suppliers meet increasing demand

Spotted: As the weather becomes more unpredictable, energy companies will face new challenges in keeping the lights (and air conditioning) on. SP Energy Networks is working to address this challenge by developing a first-of-its-kind digital twin of the UK’s entire electricity network. The system, dubbed ENSIGN (ENergy System dIGital twiN), will be used to model and test digital solutions for managing electricity demand.

The digital twin was developed in collaboration with several leading Scottish universities, including Strathclyde, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, and St Andrews. It is designed to identify the best ways to optimise capacity and manage increased electricity demand, as well as find the most cost-effective ways to incorporate green energy technologies.

The digital twin will use artificial intelligence (AI) to create virtual links between homes and businesses and the grid. According to SP, this is an important step towards the smart grid of the future, which should give consumers a greater interactive relationship with the national grid.  

The project is being funded with a £10 million (around €11.6 million) award from the Engineering, Physics and Sciences Research Council’s Prosperity Partnership Fund, a part of the government-supported UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Managing electricity using a digital twin is just one of many innovative ways being developed to better manage energy use. Other ideas Springwise has spotted in the archive include research to wirelessly transmit solar power from space and a containerised system for delivering green hydrogen.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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