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National Grid ESO receives grant to digitise Great Britain’s energy system

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A Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) grant of £150,000 has been awarded to The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to help develop a Virtual Energy System Programme – a digital replica of Britain’s entire energy system.

The Virtual Energy System, made up of ‘multiple digital twins’, will run in parallel to the physical system, and allow the National Grid ESO to model and predict scenarios that will aid in the decarbonisation of the energy industry. 

The system operator is working with a number of project partners from across the sector, including Arup, Energy Systems Catapult and Icebreaker One, to encourage innovation and create the blueprint required for future energy systems.

The SIF, an initiative from both Ofgem and Innovate UK, aims to fund ambitious, innovative projects with the potential to accelerate the transition to net zero. 

Jonathan Barcroft, Common Framework Workstream Lead, National Grid ESO said:

“While the Virtual Energy System aims to foster innovation and development, it’s vital that different pieces of the Digital Twin are compatible and adhere to a Common Framework.

“A project of this ambition, scale and complexity has never been achieved before and the programme will run over several years. This next phase of the Common Framework Project will enable us to explore key considerations for the creation of the Virtual Energy System, including themes such as cyber security, data quality, metadata, legal and regulatory issues, and common attributes of digital twins.

“This grant from the Strategic Innovation Fund will be used to pay for our technical partner to develop the common framework and for our network partners to provide the required subject matter expertise, advancing progress for the development of the Virtual Energy System.”

More information on the Virtual Energy System can be found on the National Grid ESO’s website.   

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