Over the last decade Milton Keynes has made major strides towards becoming an energy efficient city and reducing carbon emissions in line with European and UK targets. Milton Keynes hosts a range of advanced energy installations, such as the Falcon smart grid, an extensive electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and a district heating system.

In the context of the existing energy infrastructure, the work on energy management in MK:Smart had two goals: i) to develop and demonstrate innovative energy services enabled by the smart analytics capabilities of the MK Data Hub and ii) to demonstrate the business value of the MK Data Hub for the energy sector. The examples below show some of the areas in which we were working:

Electric Vehicles – Driving on sunshine

Car Charging off Sunshine Electric vehicle (EV) numbers within the city have grown rapidly, with the charging infrastructure and parking incentives creating a critical mass for EV proliferation within MK. While this is welcomed, growing numbers of EVs have presented a significant additional load on the city’s electricity grid. Not managing this would soon cause supply infrastructure issues.

We have collected data about driving behaviour of EVs in Milton Keynes to understand their real-world energy demand. Furthermore, we have devised energy management strategies to minimise electricity consumption and reduce peak demand.

One such strategy is the coupling of EV charging with solar electricity generation, making use of local battery storage within the home. We have a network of households with EVs and PV generation being monitored in fine resolution to establish the degree of synergy possible. All data is stored anonymously within the MK DataHub.

Community Action Platform for Energy (CAPE)

We are collecting, collating and analysing Milton Keynes energy data from various sources to create a living Open Energy Map that will empower local communities and business to better understand energy trends in their areas.

The Community Action Platform for Energy (CAPE) project is developing a platform to enable bottom-up social action through fostering the development of community energy initiatives. Ultimately, this will result in more efficient use of energy across the city, reductions in CO2 emissions and reductions in citizens’ fuel bills.

The CAPE platform is already connecting citizens with a number of energy-related datasets and offers a range of analytic capabilities. In addition to data provided by citizens, datasets provided by the platform has comprised a mix of open and licensed urban data, including satellite and aerial imagery derived datasets (such as Solar or Ground Source Heat Pump potential), socio-economic data (such as selected census data) and energy datasets (eg: domestic electricity consumption data).

With the availability of such detailed knowledge, the possibility for accurate targeting of energy-efficiency measures has become much easier. Such data arguably has commercial potential for the energy efficiency industry.


Electricity Demand Shifting

Milton Keynes Households With the proliferation of Solar PV, we have been working with households to develop tools that will help residents maximise their domestic self-generation, and thus rely less on the grid. This includes homes that are pioneering domestic energy storage, where there is a potential to store PV electricity for subsequent use.

We have worked with MK residents to monitoring their behaviour and energy flow patterns within the home.

Householders who have engaged with the programme often admit to having trouble understanding the detail of how their home energy systems operate. A common complaint is of “information-overload”. As such, we have developed novel in-home displays that simplify the communication of energy data, and help residents make the best “energy decisions”.

The net result of this should be to encourage a household to work within its own supply constraints (in as much as is practical), ultimately resulting in a peak demand reduction on the electricity grid, and greater infrastructure resilience within Milton Keynes.

All these activities fed into and made use of the data management and analytics services of the MK Data Hub.

Leader: Janet Van Der Linden
Open University