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.
To tackle fuel poverty, major energy suppliers are obligated to deliver a certain amount of lifetime savings to customers through the installation of various energy efficiency measures. These obligated energy suppliers are increasingly needing to deliver the obligation as cost effectively as possible – in such a way as not to aggravate the fuel poverty situation in the country while maintaining competitive prices for their large customer base.
It is proving consistently more difficult for eligible households to be identified and as such energy suppliers are investigating innovate solutions to improve targeting of communities where a high number of households are living in fuel poverty. ThermCERT presents an opportunity to reduce the complexity and time required to identify ECO eligible customers.
The service will allow E.ON to understand the demographics of cities and communities across various aspects: from social vulnerability to quality of the built structures. The service aims to provide local area insights, describing local neighbourhoods at the same granularity all over the UK. These insights can be used to improve how ECO money is spent, ensuring that it delivers improvements to those households who need it most.
The service is aimed at helping UK energy suppliers and community based stakeholders to deliver the Energy Company Obligation with time and resource savings identifying and marketing to eligible households.
The Energy Company Obligation is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain aimed to tackle fuel poverty through making homes more efficient and thus alleviating pressure on household fuel bills. Major energy suppliers operating in the Great Britain have a legal obligation to deliver a certain level of lifetime savings on energy bills through installing energy efficiency measures to households.
The ThermCERT system offers a product that combines satellite derived, ground observation and pre-existing statistical data sets into a single point of access. This has a potential to enable E.ON users to analyse and down select areas that are suffering from fuel poverty, making them eligible for E.ON funded energy efficiency improvement measures.
The ThermCERT service can also be beneficial to Local Authorities as they worth with their communities to deliver tangible benefits to the local residents. Local Authorities play a role in the delivery of Energy Company Obligation by defining the local eligibility criteria for residents. Existing data takes time to analyse and make decisions on. Timely and 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 designed services within frames of a demonstration project, supported by the ESA Business Applications programme.
The primary country for the service application is United Kingdom.
The user will be able to gather local authority area knowledge and interact with data derived from multiple sources: satellites, census data and in-situ acquisitions (Fig. 1).
Centralised data access is one of the principal gains for the customer using an interface designed to simplify the analysis of complex datasets, making ThermCERT a system of choice.
The information will be interrogable and updatable so that the user can maintain a level of situational awareness that enables smart decision making (choosing which areas have vulnerable residents living in buildings with insufficient energy efficiency).
The service will also allow for planning and managing potential vulnerable customer outreach (marketing) schemes and potentially unlock other new business opportunities for E.ON.
The Space assets employed in the operational service are:
1. Earth Observation
Acquisition of multispectral and thermal infrared data are required from Earth Observation scans for ThermCERT to function.The data enhances pre-existing, open source datasets from bodies such as the Office of National Statistics to increase the data temporal resolution. This data is key for building the wide area data sets of the urban environment; the user can then down-select the areas of highest interest and gather local insights for potential opportunities. Relevant satellites include: Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite VIIRS, NASA Landsat 8, Terra Aster, ESA Copernicus Sentinel 2, WorldView 1/WorldView 2/WorldView3/ Pleides-1A/1B satellites.
2. Satellite Navigation
Satellite positioning data is required to geotag all thermal images taken from the in-situ vehicular scans. The satellite positioning will be enhanced with an aid of inertial measurement system, allowing for the data collected from the mobile platform to be geo-referenced with accuracy of less than 1m. By geo-referencing the images as they are created, Astrosat will be able to link these images to the Earth Observation satellite data sets mentioned above.
The project started in November 2017. A first Minimum Viable Product was released in September 2018 and will be tested by early E.ON users for further iterations.