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

In January 2024, we convened the second REACT Advisory Group meeting, co-chaired by SSEN-Transmission and Icebreaker One. In partnership with SSEN Transmission, Olsights, MapStand, National Grid Electricity Transmission and SGN, IB1 is part of the Alpha phase of 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 understanding of progress on sprints, and to discuss what datasets developers would like to have access to and what would be possible if they could access these datasets. Advisory Group members also discussed what the risks are to share this data, and how to improve interoperability of data going into and out of REACT. 

Key insights

  • REACT Tool Progress Update from Olsights & Mapstand:
    • Sprints 1 & 2 have been completed and include “negative” land use layers, ie. areas where projects cannot be sited.
    • Sprint 3 is underway and is focused on specific Hydrogen project site requirements, such as available water supply.
    • Future sprints will focus on curtailment, future scenarios, and “positive” land use, i.e. where Hydrogen projects are actively encouraged.
  • There are a large number of potentially shareable datasets within the network connection request process. Prioritising which to share should be based on user needs and how they solve business problems.
  • Making datasets shareable does not necessarily mean publishing them openly but may mean sharing them within a safe and secure Trust Framework.
  • REACT must embrace interoperability both into and out of the tool to ensure the tool can be used by the greatest number of potential stakeholders.
  • With regard to accessing datasets, it was discussed that:
    • Accessing gas infrastructure data requires shared not open data since it is critical infrastructure; the REACT team have discussed creating different access levels for different target users to mitigate against such data sensitivity issues.
    • The Stream project, centred on publishing water data, could be highly relevant to REACT.
    • There are data sensitivity issues around mapping data e.g. address data, street geometries, though the situation has evolved rapidly in recent years.
    • Council planners would welcome early access to information about projects that are applying for network connections.
    • More affordable/accessible network connection process could benefit community energy projects, though this raises issues of data sensitivity, e.g. what criteria determines access to shared, non-open data?
    • More effective data sharing between electricity companies and other area-focused stakeholders, such as councils, water companies, via REACT could provide more effective, joined-up thinking to achieve Net Zero e.g. helping councils co-create decarbonisation plans could encourage councils to invest in network upgrades.
    • Technology innovators could potentially assist with complex and time-critical elements of the network connection process through safe and secure data sharing within a Trust Framework.

Diagram showing possible datasets created prior to and during the Network Connection Request pipeline of a Transmission Owner; created using information from ESO Connections Offers Process

  • With regard to interoperability and standards, it was discussed that:
    • For publicly funded projects like REACT, better data reliability and consistency within datasets, and better interoperability across datasets would deliver better value-for-money for taxpayers.
    • Regulatory bodies and trade organisations could provide an invaluable role in defining standards, though this could take time – are there faster ways to get there?
    • Within the local government, there has been useful work trying to achieve standards in underground infrastructure data (MUDDI/VAULT).