In 2015, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.5 million, representing approximately 11% of all English households. This is an increase from 2.38 million households in 2014. The situation in other parts of the UK is even more staggering - 42%of people living in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland.
To tackle fuel poverty, each major energy supplier is obligated to deliver a certain amount of lifetime bill savings to customers through the installation of various energy efficiency measures. However, to achieve the aim of reducing fuel poverty nationwide, the costs of delivering this obligation should not contribute to the increase of energy prices. Obligated energy suppliers need to deliver the obligation as cost effectively as possible – in such way as not to make fuel poverty worse by ensuring that the cost of energy to residents remains competitive and affordable.
ThermCERT presents an opportunity to reduce the complexity and time required to identify ECO eligible customers.
The ThermCERT service will allow E.ON to understand the demographics of any UK city in their various aspects: from relative local anthropogenic heat “signature” to social vulnerability and quality of the built structures. The service aims to provide local area insights, describing the local authority areas at the same granularity all over the Great Britain.
Figures related to 2011, published by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive 2014
Users and their needs
The product is being developed for E.ON to deliver their Energy Company Obligation through assisting with identification of vulnerable communities, saving time and resource.
The ThermCERT system combines satellite derived and pre-existing statistical data sets into a single point of access. This has a potential to enable E.ON users to analyse and narrow down the areas that are suffering from the fuel poverty, making them eligible for energy efficiency improvement measures. The product includes unique data sets that have been created combining heat loss data from satellites with publicly available data to provide accurate and up to date energy efficiency metrics for communities across the UK.
Local authorities are a second potential market for ThermCERT services. Local authorities play a role in the delivering Energy Company Obligation by defining the local eligibility criteria for energy supply companies. Currently, there is a lack of resources to analyse the masses of pre-existing data on local communities. Up to date contextual knowledge is crucial to address the problems strategically and improve quality of life for local communities. Astrosat and E.ON Energy Solutions have entered in contractual relations to design, develop and pilot the ThermCERT services within frames of a demonstration project, supported by the ESA Business Applications programme.
The primary country for the service application is United Kingdom.
Service/ system concept
The user is able to gather community level knowledge and interact with data derived from multiple sources: satellites, census, government and E.ONs own data (Fig. 1).
Figure 1 ThermCERT system architecture
Centralised data access is one of the principal gains for the customer.
Special attention has been paid to design of an intuitive system interface for data analysis, making ThermCERT a system of choice.
The information is interrogable and updatable so that the user can maintain a level of situational awareness that enables smart decision making (choosing areas with vulnerable residents living in buildings with low levels of energy efficiency).
The service also allows for planning and managing potential vulnerable customer outreach campaigns.
Space Added Value
Earth Observation: Acquisition of multispectral thermal infrared satellite Earth observation (EO) images are required for ThermCERT to function. The EO data is used to enhance timeliness of the existing census and government published datasets as well as to generate unique datasets not available anywhere else. These data are then the key for building reliable local area insights. The employed EO satellites for ThermCERT data products: NASA Landsat 4, 5, 7 and 8, Copernicus CORINE Land Cover and Urban Atlas products, European Settlement Map 2016, VIIRS day/night band night-time lights product.
The on-Site Acceptance Test (SAT) was completed in July 2019 and the ThermCERT app is now being piloted by E.ON users.