Registration of Interest – Octopus Energy Centre for Net Zero – Smart Meter Generation Tool

23 Jun 2022

By Izzy Woolgar, Centre for Net Zero

Who are Centre for Net Zero?

Centre for Net Zero is an autonomous research unit founded by the Octopus Energy Group. Our research focuses on the future energy system, and how we can accelerate a people-centred net zero transition. We’re particularly interested in electrification, consumer behaviour and how people use low carbon technologies both now and in the future.

What is the smart meter generation tool?

Our relationship with Octopus Energy means we have access to smart meter data. Tens of thousands of Octopus Energy customers own some form of low carbon technology, including electric vehicles, heat pumps, solar PV and home batteries. How these customers currently behave can provide important insights for those interested in the energy system of the future.

Researchers we’ve worked with in the past have highlighted the value of this dataset and its potential to advance their own research. We have therefore been exploring ways that we can unlock its utility for the research community whilst strictly protecting customer data and privacy.

We are subsequently building a tool called Faraday. This models daily load “profiles” consisting of half-hourly kWh consumption for a given set of user-specified inputs (such as type of low carbon technology, season and day). Our end goal is to develop a tool that allows users to select from a variety of different consumer archetypes, and output realistic profiles both at an individual household level and in aggregate. This electricity consumption model could then be fed into other downstream models and be used to help advance research in this space.

Household smart meter data is a type of personal data, and thus protected by GDPR. Our modelling approach means that we’re able to generate realistic profiles for each consumer archetype that can’t be attributed to specific customers.

What are we looking for?

We are seeking a group of alpha testers who can help us shape the API and web app for Faraday to make it as valuable as possible for the research community. The project will move to a larger, invitation-only beta stage as we test its scalability and shape its offering in collaboration with researchers who might benefit from its use in the near future. Our intention is to make this tool available for general use by researchers, policymakers, and other selected users interested in understanding the energy transition. There will be no fee for alpha testers and we hope to make the general release free of charge for those in recognised academic institutions.

Who do we want to collaborate with?

The ideal alpha tester for this project is someone who:

  • Works for an academic research institution, or research group, focused on the energy transition
  • Has previously worked with smart meter data, or time series consumption data
  • Has interesting research question(s) that use this data directly, or use it to feed into downstream models
  • Is willing and able to work closely with Centre for Net Zero to help shape the tool and product for other researchers

How do I register interest?

We’re asking researchers and interested parties to fill out the following short form by 1st July 2022. We will contact select respondents with more information shortly after and will be sharing the first release of the tool with this group in July/August 2022.