Collaborative project with Cambridge SME Advanced Infrastructure will support smart meter innovations

University of Sheffield academics are involved in a newly-funded project with Cambridge SME Advanced Infrastructure which will determine the feasibility of a smart meter energy database.

a smart meter on a wooden table shows an energy cost reading

University of Sheffield academics are involved in a newly-funded project with Cambridge SME Advanced Infrastructure which will determine the feasibility of a smart meter energy database, which will enable future innovation of smart meters for the benefits of users.  

Professor Alastair Buckley from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and his research team, has successfully been awarded funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as part of their Smart Meter Energy Data Repository (SEDR) Programme. 

The technical solution proposed by Advanced Infrastructure will use machine learning research co-developed by the University of Sheffield and Advanced Infrastructure to leverage the power of aggregated smart meter data in reducing the cost of heating and powering our homes.

The University of Sheffield has a key role in the project to develop models that can use electricity demand data measured at samples of different points in the electricity network, in order to make accurate, time-resolved estimates across all locations. That could include, for example, estimates associated with low voltage transformers or for specific groups of buildings.

The SEDR programme is part of the up to £65 million overarching Flexibility Innovation Programme which seeks to enable large-scale widespread electricity system flexibility through smart, flexible, secure, and accessible technologies and markets. The Flexibility Innovation Programme will fund innovation across a range of key smart energy applications, and sits within the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).

The project will propose a solution to allow the use of gigabytes of data which go unused in the sector every day, all while maintaining strict privacy protections and consumer control over their personal data. As a result, the data could help lower prices and speed up rollouts of low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicle chargers and heating systems.

Christopher Jackson, CEO at Advanced Infrastructure, commented:

We are thrilled Advanced Infrastructure’s Technical Solution for establishing a system-wide repository has been awarded the funding through BEIS and we are very much looking forward to working alongside the other participant organisations on the programme.

 “Currently the energy related data from over 20 million smart meters is underperforming due to poor data access. This in turn is reducing the UK’s ability to transition to a net zero energy system. Through our proposed solution partnering with the University of Sheffield and SSEN, we aim to not only establish the feasibility of the solutions but in turn contribute to what could be a game changing cloud-based repository of smart meter energy data in the UK.

 Professor Alastair Buckley, Professor of Organic Electronics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said: 

In this exciting project we’ll take anonymised data from groups of smart meters in individual homes and businesses and combine it with metering at supply points on the high voltage transmission lines. Together, we’ll be able to make predictions of electricity flows at any point on the network. 

“This kind of model will be a game changer for the industry and bring the richness of smart meter data into the planning and operation of a net-zero electricity system.”

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