Stepping into Heat Street - UK Power Networks Decarbonisation Futures

Heat Street: Supporting communities on low carbon heating

We launched Heat Street to get a detailed understanding of how low carbon heating might look in the future across the areas we serve. The insights are vital for our own planning: the predicted switch to electric heating and energy efficiency improvements will have a significant impact on how electricity is consumed and therefore how we can best manage our network. That said, the main aim of the project was external. We remain determined to provide local authorities and other stakeholders in our patch data-driven, holistic forecasts on low carbon heating. That means they will be empowered to draft and enact their own Net Zero carbon plans.

Luckily for us, there were a lot of excellent datasets out there already to support our modelling and analysis. We made use of Building Energy Efficiency Survey (BEES), EPC databases, future cost predictions, distance to a gas grid connection, and many more. Our most important aim was to understand what the relationship between energy efficiency and low carbon heating uptake could be in the future.

After publishing our final report and data packs, we wanted to go further to make the results useful to more people. Local Authorities in our areas now have access to the most detailed granular low carbon heating forecast produced to date, which they can use to develop their area-specific decarbonisation plans. It has been great working with ODI Leeds so far and we're really excited to be publishing our main data visualisation soon.

Rona Mitchell, Innovation Lead, UK Power Networks

What ODI Leeds are doing

Element Energy have already created an excellent detailed report based on the Heat Street data packs, which includes plenty of visualisations and analysis. At ODI Leeds we like to add to this static report by creating interactive visualisations on the web that allow you to get an overview of the open data quickly and easily.

As a way to ease ourselves into the data and explore all facets of the available information, we started by taking a look at Data Pack 2 - the building stock model used for the scenario modelling. This pack contains descriptions and projections for domestic and non-domestic stock, including archetypes and fuel demand projections. The first thing that became apparent is that the data tables are formatted to be most useful to people - there are colour codes and pivot tables - neatly presented.

This is great to give you an idea of the data, but for our purposes we had to adjust and unpivot the tables a little to make them more machine readable. After that, we created a handful of visualisations in PowerBI along with some diagrams describing domestic and non-domestic stock, some outlined characteristics of both consumer and building archetypes. However, we decided that the visualisations related to local authorities and fuel projections are most relevant for this first exploratory work, which you can play with below:

This visualisation lets you quickly explore local authority domestic and non-domestic stock either by selecting those you're interested in, in the dropdown menu or by clicking directly on relevant columns. Additionally, the diagrams on page three lets you directly compare non-domestic fuel intensity and use.

What's next?

Of course, this is just the beginning of our work with the Heat Street data! We're currently putting together an interactive map that captures the variation in the decarbonisation of heat scenarios much like UK Power Networks' DFES visualisation. This will give this first-of-its-kind research project an appropriate platform to help communities map out their Net Zero carbon future. Since the Heat Street data packs explore plenty of facets of Net Zero we can go into a lot of detail: you will be able to find what you're looking for from CO2 emissions to heating demand by fuel type, split up by the 3 modelled scenarios. Plus, you'll be able to dive in deeper across several geographies and the option of changing scales to compare scenarios within or between years. All that is still in the making! Of course, once it's ready you can join in and help us make it better. But for now why not have a look at the executive summary of the Heat Street project and learn more about how your community can steer towards carbon Net Zero.