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Transitioning to a net zero energy system: Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan 2021

Today Ofgem and BEIS have published the Smart Systems Flexibility Plan and the Digitalisation Strategy 2021

Today the government and the energy regulator Ofgem have issued a series of net zero energy strategies, consultations, and calls for evidence that will provide a way for the UK to deliver a zero carbon energy system.

In the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, the UK Government and Ofgem are “driving forward” plans for innovative new systems that could allow a significant investment, innovation, and creation of jobs to enable a more flexible energy system.

Ofgem and the government estimated the introduction of cutting-edge smart technologies could slash the costs of managing the energy system by up to £10bn a year by 2050, and generate up to 10,000 jobs for system installers, electricians, data scientists, and engineers.

Susanne Baker, Associate Director for Climate, Environment, and Sustainability said:

“Digital transformation is an essential enabler for a flexible and decarbonised energy sector. However,  system-wide transformation requires targeted interventions and concrete actions to ensure innovation can be scaled for business-as-usual, cultural change embedded, markets function efficiently, and data accessible to those who need it. Digital infrastructure and the necessary protections also must be in place to support it.

Therefore, techUK today warmly welcomes the publication of the Energy Digitalisation Strategy and the updated Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan.

“And we particularly welcome and support the establishment of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce and the commitment to engage with the innovators. The initiative is a promising first start and we are already engaging heavily with the taskforce members to share the views of innovators, and we will continue to support the government in this important endeavor.”

Transitioning to a net zero energy system: smart systems and flexibility plan 2021 - GOV.UK (

Unleashing the full potential of smart systems and flexibility in our energy sector could:

  • Reduce the costs of managing the system by up to £10 billion a year by 2050.
  • Generate up to 10,000 jobs for system installers, electricians, data scientists, and engineers.
  • A further 14,000 jobs could also be created by the export potential of these new technologies.

Government will support the deployment and uptake of smart, digital technologies, to unlock opportunities for more control, choice, and flexibility in how consumers use energy.

The plan's action focuses on:

  • Facilitating flexibility.
  • Cyber security.
  • Digitalisation of the energy system.
  • Electric Vehicle roll-out.
  • Enabling smart local energy.
  • Innovation and Investnment.
  • Skills creation.

Digitalising our energy system for net zero: strategy and action plan - GOV.UK (

  • Build momentum by funding and supporting an Energy Digitalisation Taskforce to identify next steps and priorities towards digitalisation, with recommendations expected winter 2021/22
  • Ensure data and digitalisation expectations are included as part of the design of the RIIO-ED2 price control, with the intention of requiring network operators to comply with Energy Data Best Practice and Digitalisation Strategy and Action Plan guidance.
  • Work with industry to enable market participants and stakeholders to take advantage of digitalisation opportunities.
  • Develop options for how to simplify data collection by streamlining small-scale asset registration processes to improve visibility of system assets.
  • Innovate UK’s £2m Modernising Energy Data Access competition aims to create a standard for data sharing and a governance platform for user verification. Icebreaker One, the winner of the competition, will deliver a beta-stage platform in summer 2021.
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