SP Energy working with Sia Partners on electricity forecasts

27 December 2019 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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A software system created by consulting firm Sia Partners has been leveraged to enable SP Energy to forecast surges in energy demand. As the UK shifts toward a zero-carbon economy, software modelling will allow policy-makers to see where investment in the energy grid needs to be targeted.

The UK utilities sector is currently in a state of rapid change, with the convergence of new technologies, regulatory intervention and new entrants making it easier for consumers to swap providers to find the best deal. In this increasingly competitive environment, the use of digital services to improve energy delivery has become a key way for utilities providers to maintain a healthy power supply to British consumers. Recently, this saw SP Energy tap Sia Partners to help develop a system of forecasting electricity demand.

SP Energy is a distribution and transmission network operator, working to keep electricity flowing to homes and businesses throughout Central and Southern Scotland, North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire. It does this through a network of Overhead Lines and Underground Cables which the firm owns and maintains.

SP Energy working with Sia Partners on electricity forecasts

In order to improve its efficiency in maintaining this service, SP Energy is investing significantly in pioneering software from Sia Partners UK that applies data science and machine learning algorithms to predict both electricity network demand and generation output. This new approach will allow the group to maximise capacity and reliability across the electricity network, benefiting customers and generators alike.

Sebastien Gerber, Energy and Data Science expert at Sia Partners UK, said, "Over the past two years we have worked together with SP Energy Networks on a variety of projects. As a company it has always embraced innovation and this new data science approach to system management demonstrates its ambition to continuously deliver improved outcomes."

Sia's software, which uses historical network data, detailed weather data and artificial intelligence to predict the energy flowing to the electricity distribution network, will go live in March 2020, can be adapted to include the future influence of electric vehicles, heat pumps and other low carbon technologies which will significantly increase demand on the system. Its use of artificial intelligence, data analytics and software modelling will allow better understanding of the impact this will have on the electricity network and where investment should be targeted years in advance, as Britain transitions to a zero-carbon economy. 

Grant McBeath, Control Room Manager at SP Energy Networks, said, "We have to change the way we manage the network – transitioning from a passive approach to much more active and agile management, which requires a more dynamic approach to ensure capacity is maximised and customers’ supplies remain uninterrupted. Working with Sia on forecasting software will allow us a better understanding of the future flows of energy on the network right down to a half hourly basis. This will ultimately allow my team to ensure the network is optimised to deliver the supply resilience and customer service our customers expect and deserve."