Mapping the UK’s Digital Energy Landscape – ESC Case Study

Introduction – The client

Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) is an independent, not-for-profit centre of excellence set up by the Government to accelerate the transformation of the UK’s energy system and ensure UK businesses and consumers capture the opportunities of clean growth.

To achieve this mission, ESC takes a whole-systems view of the energy sector, to help identify and address innovation priorities and market barriers, in order to decarbonise the energy system at the lowest cost.

The Challenge

The energy industry is experiencing a period of rapid change. Advances in technology have unlocked a range of new smart services that are impacting the way energy is generated, transported, stored, traded and used. Renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper and more reliable, and disruptive technology companies are entering the market and driving change with innovative digital solutions.

The centralised energy system reliant on large power plants, is transforming into one that is more distributed, cleaner, and more flexible. The shift towards decentralisation is evidenced by a growing adoption of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) in the domestic space, such as home batteries, Photo Voltaic (PV), as well as the widespread deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) and innovative energy management solutions.

Renewables, distributed generation, and smart functionalities demand new capabilities and are triggering new business models. Data collection and exchange are growing exponentially, creating valuable opportunities.

ESC wanted to demonstrate the breadth of innovative products and services provided by Small Medium Enterprises (SME) in the complex ‘New Digital Energy’ landscape.

Our Approach

To successfully design a comprehensive taxonomy reflecting the rapid changes in the energy sector, Gemserv used a phased approach, initially producing a high-level segmentation of functional value pools and the different types of digital energy services emerging in the new energy value chain.

Understanding the service offering and the market segments helped us identify and compile a list of service providers digitalising the energy market through services such as peer-to-peer energy trading platforms, flexibility aggregation services, energy efficiency financing programs, grid constraint management and predictive maintenance, to name a few.

Throughout the process, Gemserv and the Catapult worked closely to refine the categories of services unlocking insights valuable to ESC’s audience. For each digital energy service, Gemserv highlighted information such as the end market it serves (residential, commercial and industrial, distribution network and system operators) as well as the type of generation assets.

From the gathered data, we were able to produce an easy-to-understand graphical image reflecting various layers of the new energy landscape.

Gemserv collaborated closely with the Catapult team throughout the whole process and was able to adapt the outputs based on specific requirements to successfully deliver the assignment.

The Digital Energy Landscape infographic can be found here.


  • How was Gemserv to work with?
    Creating the infographic was a collaborative, creative process with several changes in design before arriving at the final product. The Gemserv team was easy to work with, flexible and open to new ideas throughout the engagement.
  • Did our solution accomplish your objective(s)?
    The idea at the outset was to create a tool that would bring clarity to the digital energy eco system and make it easier for SME’s to innovate in this space. Initial feedback from our industry consultation has been extremely positive.
  • What benefits did you see or plan to see because of this work immediately?
    From the SME’s we have spoken to directly, all were extremely positive about how useful the infographic is and were supportive of developing it further. We’re taking feedback from the consultation to make sure we’ve captured as many of the companies as possible and categorised them correctly.
  • What benefits should you see because of this work over time?
    The digital energy landscape is complex and rapidly evolving. Keeping up to date with these changes will be crucial in ensuring the infographic remains valid and helpful to innovators and other stakeholders in the transition to net zero.

Eric Appleton – Incubation Manager at Energy Systems Catapult

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