DCC – delivering smarter innovation in 2021 and beyond

11/12/2020
Mike Hewitt, Chief Technology Officer at the DCC, shares his thoughts on how the DCC will continue to enable innovation, through the development of it’s core infrastructure.

The DCC is building Britain's largest IoE (Internet of Energy) platform. We connect homes to a secure smart system that enables secure data transmission between the consumer and our customers (currently energy retailers or authorised DCC users). The deployment of smart meters has a pivotal role in enabling Britain's transition to net carbon zero and decarbonisation. The pace of the smart meter roll out has gathered momentum during 2020, with over 8,000,000 meters now deployed and we will pass 10,000,000 in 2021. 

The DCC will provide the most secure connection to every home in the UK by 2025 and that will enable innovative new services and capabilities to be delivered in the future. Our security infrastructure is built to the highest standards and endorsed by the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) to deliver consumer confidence around data protection and security of critical national infrastructure.

The technology to create a smarter, more flexible and more resilient energy system already exists in our network. Smart meters will be the tool that enables customers to be rewarded for using their energy intelligently, for example providing cheaper prices when there's an abundance of renewables when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.

My prediction is 2021 will see DCC continue to enable innovation through the development of it’s core infrastructure. The DCC is currently developing a faster and more reliable switching solution, reducing the time from weeks to days and this programme will be delivered over 2021-2023.

Underpinning the DCC's role in enabling innovation, 2021 will see the DCC embark on its Network Evolution programme, delivering the next generation of communication hub to deliver a long term solution that enables wider innovation across the DCC ecosystem. Alongside our hardware innovation the DCC will also embark on the next generation of the core data services platform that delivers the secure messages between the home and the service provider. This is needed to support the capabilities that will be required over the next decade for the smart meter infrastructure programme and digitisation of our energy grid.

As CTO two initiatives and one area of interest resonate with me for 2021, as we drive innovation and ideas. The DCC has a key role in potentially enabling these transformational areas.

- The transition to carbon zero transport and the role DCC has in enabling secure connectivity to enable interoperability of EV (electric vehicle) charging points at home, at work and on the move. We are here to support a single solution enabling the EV transition for the next decade. In parallel with this will be the development of V2G (Vehicle to Grid) and Behind the Meter Battery, all in support of future grid plans that optimise the use of the energy system.

- The 2020 Health report commissioned by SmartEnergy GB highlighted innovative ways that the smart meter infrastructure could support better care for people with conditions like dementia, and for energy usage data to protect elderly and vulnerable individuals to remain in their own home for longer. Smart meter data could be used to identify irregular energy use to alert a trusted relative or carer.

The DCC’s platform enables a uniform service provision at scale across the UK underpinned with interoperability and security to support consumer confidence and adoption of these and other initiatives.

The DCC looks to support the vision of an integrated grid. We believe our smart metering platform is positioned to deliver the scale, security and interoperability needed to enable the integrated, optimised energy infrastructure that leads the world towards net carbon zero.

Britain's grid needs to deliver electrical system flexibility to transition from fossil to renewable energy and support decarbonisation. The grid infrastructure has become distributed, and in the future roof top solar, 'behind the meter batteries', V2G, and grid responsive appliances will all form integral parts of this of our energy infrastructure.

The DCC has a role in delivering the secure connectivity that enables innovation and in 2021 we will be looking to engage with innovators, developers and organisations interested in leveraging the smart metering infrastructure to drive innovation and reuse to support social good, decarbonisation, grid optimisation and security.

The DCC’s door is firmly open to support this journey, and we are here to enable innovation, develop collaboration and build the ecosystem of partners large and small that will deliver the Government's vision of Net Zero carbon by 2050.

By Mike Hewitt, Chief Technology Officer