In November, we convened the first REACT Advisory Group meeting, co-chaired by SSEN-T and Icebreaker One. 

In partnership with SSEN Transmission, Olsights, MapStand, National Grid Electricity Transmission and SGN, IB1 is implementing REACT, which aims to create a geographical planning tool providing users with the ability to view electricity grid connection requests in real-time, using an interactive visualisation map.

The purpose of this meeting was to gain a collective alignment on REACT aims and understand what data opportunities and barriers the participants are facing.

Key insights

  • It was noted that:
    • The REACT project aims to address the following key issues:
      • Developers in the pre-application stage have no clear overview of available network capacity or other potential developments
      • Connection requests are reviewed in isolation based on a static view at the time of application
      • This leaves little time to explore optimal solutions for locating capacity on the network
    • The REACT project aims to address the identified key issues of the process for reviewing connection requests being carried out in isolation by:
      • Providing an automated spatial view of all information and data relevant to developers, system planners, and other users in the pre-application stages for hydrogen projects.
      • Streamlining the process, supporting decision making, and reducing the time required to assess connection requests.
    • Tool Progress Update
      • Sprint 1 is complete, which focused on visualising transmission network to circuits, transmission substations, and primary substations
      • Sprint 2 is underway, focusing on visualising connections within the network and enhancing the spatial and temporal understanding of connected elements.
    • Data Sensitivity Classes are intended to classify different datasets so that issues of security, confidentiality, and legal compliance are adequately addressed when publishing open or shared data.
    • Data Licensing is crucial to publishing any open or shared data as it clearly and unambiguously specifies the ways in which an end user may or may not use the published dataset.
  • It was discussed that:
    • Learning from and/or collaborating with other GIS projects that are looking at energy site selection would be highly desirable, eg. in terms of sharing best practice and improving energy data sharing
    • Collecting isolated datasets together can sometimes present new data sensitivity or security issues that are not obvious from the isolated datasets, e.g. co-location of electricity and water infrastructure
    • There are sometimes issues with the quality and frequency of fully open data. These issues may potentially be avoided by accessing high quality data from trusted or quality-controlled sources.
    • There is frustration at the time it takes to obtain appropriate open data from energy companies; it may not necessarily be aggregated in the most useful way, eg. aggregated by grid squares rather than parish council areas
    • Accessible GIS-based energy applications present opportunities to help bring communities onboard to co-create future energy plans
    • There may be reasons for aggregating data that go beyond data sensitivity considerations, eg. to “smooth” rapidly changing data so it’s meaningful

We are still accepting applications for the REACT Advisory Group. If you or a colleague is interested in joining, please find more information here.