Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said that energy data will be critical to a transition to a net zero economy.
In response to a letter sent to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June by a collection of businesses, tech companies and universities Kwarteng has highlighted the importance of energy data for decarbonisation.
The letter called for the establishment of a UK-based International Centre for AI, Energy and Climate, enhanced energy data collection and an emerging tech pavilion at the UN’s climate conference COP26 when it is held in Glasgow in 2021.
On the first point, the minister agreed with the importance of harnessing data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in support of climate objectives.
“Regarding your letter’s first core initiative to set up an International Centre for AI, Energy & Climate, we recognise the potential that AI has to contribute to our net zero efforts,” Kwarteng wrote. “As part of our forthcoming Spending Review, we are considering which priorities we take forward under our future energy innovation investment.”
The minister pointed to work currently underway to enhance data collection, including endorsing the Energy Data Taskforce recommendations, funding the development of a robust Energy Data Visibility Service and Innovate UK’s ~£2m innovation competition, Modernising Energy Data Access.
Kwarteng continued: “Regarding your letter’s second core initiative on energy data sharing, I agree with the sentiment in your letter that enhancing energy data collection, standards and sharing is a critical pre-requisite for supporting our transition to a net zero economy.
“Data-driven energy systems intelligence can optimise system operation, and most efficiently incorporate decentralised renewables onto the grid, to assist in meeting our global net zero targets.”
Those behind the letter, who include Energy UK, the Solar Trade Association and the Energy Systems Catapult amongst others, hope that highlighting the importance of this area will ensure its continued political support going forwards.
Finally, Kwarteng stated that he has passed on the groups request for an Emerging Tech Pavilion at COP26 to officials from the COP26 Unit.
The ministers response has been welcomed by the group behind the letter, with Peter Clutton-Brock, CEO of independent energy specialists Radiance saying: “Overall, this represents a positive response to the recommendations. There is more work that needs to be done on all of these areas and we will be in touch in due course to discuss how we can continue to build momentum for a greater focus on the potential for leveraging emerging technologies to support the transition to zero emissions ahead of COP26.”