SP Energy Networks works with Sia Partners for better forecasting

06 August 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Consulting firm Sia Partners has partnered with SP Energy Networks to implement a cutting-edge new financial forecasting software, which can deliver accurate predictions of both demand and generation. According to the firms, the new software results in increased awareness, reliability and maximises capacity on the SP’s energy distribution network.

SP Energy Networks is a UK based distribution and transmission network operator, keeping electricity flowing to homes and businesses throughout Central and Southern Scotland, North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire. The group does this through the network of overhead lines and underground cables which it owns and maintains. As such, no matter which firm customers actually pay their bill to, SP is the organisation which acts on power cuts, or the upgrade of power connections.

Relating to this last function, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic caused sudden and dramatic changes to everyone’s way of life. With the demand for energy in home spaces suddenly shifting in the space of a few weeks, as a business SP needed to proactively take steps to boost the economy and plan for the future. That’s where software it developed with consultancy Sia Partners comes in – the new tool has proven to be easily adaptable to not only deliver benefits now, but sets the foundations for a further transition to a new operational model.

SP Energy Networks works with Sia Partners for better forecasting

Grant McBeath, Control Room Manager at SP Energy Networks, said, “As a Distribution System Operator… we’ll be managing a complex and ever-evolving network not least of all due to the expected increase in low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles and heat pumps. These technologies will be a huge part of the green recovery in a post-Covid world and in driving our net zero ambitions, but will increase demand on the network. Sia Partners’ systems therefore allow our engineers to rely on artificial intelligence and data analytics to gain understanding of that impact and to predict where investment should be made in advance.”

First announced in late 2019, Sia Partners' software 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. Using artificial intelligence, data analytics and software modelling will allow better understanding of the impact this will have on electricity demand, and where investment should be targeted years in advance, as the UK transitions to a zero-carbon economy.

Sebastien Gerber, Energy and Data Science expert at Sia Partners UK, said, "With the rise of renewable energy sources and low carbon technologies, the management of the whole electricity system has become more and more challenging. Moreover, while carbon emissions have dropped significantly over lockdown, the way we have and will consume electricity is changing. Now more than ever, there is a clear need for Distribution Network Operators to have greater visibility on their network and work hand in hand with the System Operator to ensure net zero ambitions are met, while delivering outstanding outcomes for all customers."