Data isn’t just valuable, it’s going to save the planet! Miles Cheetham

Video and Slides


Keynote: Data isn’t just valuable, it’s going to save the planet!

Miles Cheetham, Co-Chair Open Energy Steering Group, developing standards-based marketplaces for environmental & financial data.

  • How Open Banking proved how we could share data securely at scale (and we’ve now realised that it’s one use case of many)
  • Open Energy showed how the approach and infrastructure is transferable to other sectors (and that interoperability across sectors is possible)
  • What else is possible? (when you start thinking about what you can do with data, you realise the wealth of use cases and problems you can solve)
  • How data will lead us to better decisions (informing corporate and consumer behaviour, investments/use of capital etc.)
  • What we need to do to make this real? (what government, treasuries, regulators and industry need to do)


Miles was part of the highly successful Open Banking initiative in the UK between 2016-2020, heading up propositions. In TADSummit 2020 he shared the success of open banking, with 350 new providers (think 3rd party developers) with over 3 million customers.

Open banking showed customer data can be shared securely at scale with the customer’s consent. Applications include budgeting tools, micro loans, predicting cash flow in small businesses, and better managing your personal finances. We saw one such example with Updraft by Matt Millar, serial entrepreneur, Founder Updraft (solving expensive consumer debt).

I’m a fan of what Miles has achieved in Open Banking as a template for Open Telecoms. Miles has been focused on Open Energy for the past year, as part of IB1, the ‘easier’ challenge compared to Open Telecoms 😉 And in this presentation reviews how open data in energy can help us achieve the changes society must make to halt global heating, the longer term goal must be reversing it.

The sources of generation are changing fast at the edge in the UK, not just solar (both Dan Jenkins and Sam Machin have solar panels at their homes), but also heat pumps. Consumption is also changing as electric vehicles are now 20% of new registrations, which increases demand for generation. This will be a significant challenge for the US network, but that’s another discussion. All this data is covered by GDPR and critical national infrastructure protections. Just like open banking, security is critical.

As part of Innovate UK, IB1 made a submission on how the platform and learning from Open Banking could be applied to Open Energy. Evaluating participant needs, policies, regulations, and technical feasibility. And from that built a prototype based on the Open Banking platform.

They were awarded funding to build a beta using real participant data. And Open Energy is now in government funded pilot, showing the importance of decentralization to decarbonization! And given the learning through open banking, Miles estimates they can do open energy at 10% the cost.

Miles runs through a number of use cases, from simple household use of their EV to even supply/demand, across supply chains being able to calculate actual carbon footprints of goods and services, building data (Digital Twins, something Jose de Castro is working on at Mapped) to determine changes necessary to achieve net-zero in 2050, and help local authorities adapt local supply infrastructure.

On the financial side using standardized open data can change corporate climate impact reporting from feel-good subjective to hard objective data. What caught my attention is to enable insurers and financial markets to finally have better quantification on climate risk. Something I see as a massive gap, with a few inadequate finger in the air estimates, that always seem to rely on us, the taxpayer or consumer, to bail out or overpay for inadequate planning and preparations.

The critical issues are for governments to create the legal and regulatory framework that:

  • Encourages organisations to share and consume data;
  • Promotes investment in the infrastructure required;
  • Mandates key aspects such as types of essential data, taxonomies, standards and governance.

Thanks Miles for, as always, an insightful, thought-provoking, and uplifting presentation on the importance of open data in potentially reaching the net zero 2050 goal.


1) How far are we down the road of standardized data for open energy?

Miles: Metadata will come first but standardised datasets are some way off because there are many and they are diverse.

2) What use case most surprised you?

Miles: I love the fact that you’ll be able to charge your EV (electric car) overnight and release that cheaper energy back to power your home through a bidirectional charger.

3) Living here in the US, who do you suggest we approach to raise awareness of open banking and open energy?

Miles: The key people in the UK are the government department responsible for energy and the energy regulator. They both saw the same challenges and worked in concert, so I imagine it will be similar.

4) Where do the 90% savings come from for Open Energy versus Open Banking?

Miles: In my opinion the costs of open banking in the uk were inflated somewhat as they were rolled into a programme of wider infrastructure upgrades. We know how to do this now – it’s no longer a new frontier- and it’s entirely replicable, and I’ve both had conversations and seen reliable guidance to that effect.

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