Developing standards-based marketplaces for federated data-sharing

Addressing the climate crisis requires us to combine data-driven innovation across domains of science, policy, finance and engineering: to optimise physical infrastructures we need robust data infrastructures to fuel insight, analysis, reporting and to apply governance to hold ourselves to account on our net-zero targets and data-sharing best-practice.

Imagine, at the point of investment, that an investor could mandate the data-flows to demonstrate net-zero at the points of design, construction, operation and decommissioning in a manner that they could apply incentives to hold each stage to account on provable net-zero delivery.

Given that large-scale infrastructure and financial projects last years (or decades) now is the time to enable the instrumentation of data-flows throughout project lifecycles.

At the same time, the data-flows will be coming not just from reporting frameworks such as TCFD, but on an ongoing, continuous basis from systems, sensors and satellites.

The users of the information are manifold: from policy to regulation, research communities to a wide range of businesses, communities and individuals.

If you feel like you are in, or would like to be part of, these evolving communities of practice and would like to stay informed or get involved, please sign up today.

Our five Icebreaker Clusters

Icebreaker One is bringing people together across Energy, Transport, Agriculture, Water and the Built World

Our SERI Programme is already engaged across Agriculture, Transport and the Built World which address the horizontals of insurance, finance and engineering.

In each case, our data infrastructure must address a wide range of issues related to data-sharing and transparency across value chains, networks, and beyond.

In most cases, it is hard (and often impossible) to aggregate data from multiple sources. For example, in Energy, challenges currently include:

  • data-sharing requires multiple bilateral legal agreements
  • the number of sources is increasing by orders of magnitude (e.g. solar, wind, batteries, electric vehicles)
  • the number of users is increasing (e.g. grid, traders, suppliers, energy-tech)
  • complexity is increasing (e.g. number of assets, new flexibility markets, technology solutions)
  • increased friction in data-sharing
  • a high technical cost of aggregation (data acquisition, cleaning, refining, processing)
  • a high human-cost of processing (legal, rights, communication, knowledge transfer)
  • lack of cohesion and interoperability to enable the addressing of multiple use-cases
  • market not accessible to new entrants and innovation 

To address these challenges we are exploring how to develop a ‘national grid for energy data’ that would underpin our energy data infrastructure which could address:

  • shared legal frameworks (based on use-cases and user-needs)
  • shared principles, processes & practices for data sharing (e.g. open access to metadata, preemptive licensing of shared-data)
  • creating mechanisms for market engagement and innovation  
  • the potential for regulatory interventions 
Principles and practice for developing data infrastructure across sectors

Across sectors, the challenges for public and private sector organisations in developing a shared-data strategy include common design patterns. These include addressing:

• Business models
• Rights
• Liability models
• Dispute resolution and redress
• Consent
• Performance
• Security
• Legal frameworks
• Usability 
• Logistics
• Technology architecture
• Operating principles

Similar approaches are being undertaken in related sectors including banking, insurance, pensions, geospatial and health and we are building upon, learning from and engaging with those domains.

To explore this in practical terms, we are working with companies to develop climate-ready, climate-aware and climate-credible products and services. In doing so we are ‘shaking the tree’ to work out:

  1. what is already functional; 
  2. where there is scope for order-of-magnitude improvement;
  3. where there is scope for transformational change.

We are building on existing frameworks such as Open Banking and considering the potential of new data types such as Earth Observation (e.g. 3-meter resolution, daily, whole earth) and Internet of Things (e.g. infrastructure that is instrumented with thousands of sensors). 

Be an Icebreaker — get involved today if you are interested in any of the five Icebreaker clusters

If you are interested in any of these five areas, please join our growing community of practice (our Icebreaker Constellation) today, and we will be in touch about future research, events and ways to get involved.

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