The power of digital twins with National Grid ESO

In this episode we meet National Grid ESO, the electricity system operator for Great Britain, and one of the sponsors of the Digital Twin Hub’s inaugural Connected Digital Twins Summit held this summer.

The UK Government has a target for National Grid ESO to be running a zero-carbon electricity system by 2035. This ambition is crucial in helping the UK meet its wider zero carbon targets.

For National Grid ESO, a major milestone in that journey is the development of a Virtual Energy System. This is a real-time, digital replica of Great Britain’s entire energy landscape which mirrors the physical system – a network of interconnected digital twins that can be shared by industry to improve ESO’s ability to simulate and forecast electricity supply and demand.

So how is digital twin technology helping to bring this bold vision to life? How is it being used to better understand and influence consumer behaviour, especially during a cost-of-living crisis? And is the tech always the biggest hurdle when it comes to digital transformation?

Featured in this episode are Carolina Tortora, National Grid ESO’s Head of Innovation Strategy & Digitalisation in conversation with Dr. Alison Vincent, Chair of the Digital Twin Hub, as well as Lucy Yu, CEO of Centre for Net Zero, and Symon Brown, Smart Grid Director at CGI.

Connected Digital Twins Summit – 22 June, 2023

The huge opportunity that digital twins offer place-based infrastructure is what guides the work of the Digital Twin Hub (which came out of the UK’s National Digital Twin Programme) housed at the Connected Places Catapult. It is a network that is helping to bring people together to learn from each other and collaborate on this hugely ambitious social, environment, and technical journey.

Their work is also guided by the Gemini Principles which are shaping the development of an ecosystem of connected digital twins. And they also host the weekly Gemini Call which has become a staple date in the diary for practitioners across the UK.

On 22 June 2023 the Digital Twin Hub and the Connected Places Catapult hosted the inaugural Connected Digital Twins Summit. National Grid ESO is an active supporter of the Hub and was a sponsor of the Summit.

Theme music on this episode is by Phill Ward Music (

Show notes

Centre for Net Zero is an impact-driven research unit founded by the global tech disruptor, Octopus Energy. They deliver pioneering research to make the future energy system a reality.

Their access to tens of billions of customer data points gives them an unparalleled insight into the behaviours of people and businesses around the world. They combine analysis of this dataset with field trials and experimentation, to build models and centre intelligent demand into the design of the changing energy system.

The Centre for New Zero works directly with governments, policy-makers, grid operators and academics, translating their research and analysis into real-world action.

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