Meeting the net zero workers of the future
Do you know who you’re sharing an office with? Our Energy Changers series introduces you to people who are helping to change the future of National Grid.
Jack Kelly is 39 years old and speaks with a fiery passion about the work he does at National Grid. In short, he says: “I use machine learning to help improve National Grid ESO’s forecasts for supply and demand. Most of my day is spent at my computer, analysing data, writing and debugging software. I also spend time talking to colleagues … and thinking!”
Before joining us, Jack worked for Google DeepMind and has also set up his own business, called OpenClimateFix – an open source research and development lab, focused on searching for machine learning and data that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible.
At National Grid, he’s trying to find a solution for the future – what excites him the most is that he’s learning all the time and constantly discovering software and techniques, “…pushing into the intricacies of datasets.”
Jack is just one of National Grid’s workforce who is committed to working toward a Net Zero future. His work is focused on mitigating the impact of climate change and using artificial intelligence (AI) to achieve that.
He explains how advances in AI technology can rapidly increase the efficiency of all energy systems, but especially renewables: “As our energy supplies move away from being centralised and fossil-fuel dominated (for example, large, coal or gas fired power stations) we are expanding into more decentralised, varied renewable sources of supply.
“This brings a level of complex uncertainties, as optimising renewable performance relies on anticipating and predicting weather patterns. For example, cloud patterns and formations impact on solar generation, just as air currents influence the performance of wind turbines.”
AI is not just useful, it’s essential to our low-carbon future, he says: “It will help us manage more diverse and complex, yet clean, generation. It has a role to play in many aspects of the power network, from solar and wind forecasting to battery management or analysing smart meter data.”
Jack says he’s been trying to mitigate the impact of climate change since 2008, and he’s inspired by others who are also trying to make the change: “I’m not sure I have a role model! No one has yet successfully reduced emissions at scale. That said, I certainly look up to Greta Thunberg – I love how determined, brave and clear-headed she is; even in the face of bullying from people who should know a lot better.”