The practice of AI and ethics in energy transition futures

Euan Morris, Kathryn Stamp, Alison Halford and Elena Gaura

Monday 4th July 2022

With greater implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data as part of the transition towards digitalisation of the UK energy sector, there is a need for greater clarity around how ethics and ethical practices are understood and applied by stakeholders.

The UK Energy Sector is undergoing a significant shift towards digitalisation. Increased use of AI, whilst improving safety, productivity, and sustainability of energy systems, will become increasingly complex with high computational demands. This raises ethical concerns around issues such as security and privacy. While there is a strong culture of regulatory compliance, there is a significantly less established understanding of ethical practices and frameworks in the UK energy sector.

This briefing paper details work conducted by EnergyREV researchers exploring understanding and experience of ethics and AI, as the sector moves towards greater employment of technology in the data collection, storage and use processes. By addressing ethical concerns from the outset, taking a proactive rather than reactive approach, risks can be mitigated, and potential issues addressed early on, leading to more opportunities for technological advancement and innovation.

Through engagement with energy actors, an understanding of how ethics is applied by those working in the energy data sector will be improved.