OpenSynth is a new, global open community designed to democratize synthetic data, to accelerate the decarbonization of global energy systems.

Access to smart meter data is essential to rapid and successful energy transitions. Researchers, modelers and policymakers need to understand how energy demand profiles are changing, in a system that requires greater real time optimization of demand and supply on the grid. Yet current global energy modeling and policymaking is still largely based on static and highly aggregated data from the past – when energy flowed in one direction, consumer profiles were relatively predictable, and power generation was highly controllable.

Yet access to demand data is highly restrictive, as a result of privacy protections. Rather than joining industry calls to unlock raw smart meter data through existing mechanisms, by challenging current data regulations and smart meter legislation, OpenSynth believes generating synthetic data is the fastest way to achieve widespread, global access to smart meter datasets.

OpenSynth is building a community for holders of raw smart meter (i.e. demand) data to generate and share synthetic data and models that can be used by researchers, industry innovators and policy-makers.

The smart meter data that will be shared through OpenSynth won’t only be synthetic, but will contain important metadata such as property type, EPC rating and low carbon technology (LCT) ownership, including heat pumps, electric vehicles and batteries. This will enable better understanding of behind-the-meter changes and inform the ongoing development of future demand profiles for different demographics. 

The initial focus for the community includes:

  • Defining what comprises ‘good’ synthetic data (to include how synthetic data in energy might be evaluated for common concepts such as privacy, fidelity and utility)
  • Developing an open repository for synthetic smart meter data and algorithms
  • Encouraging community members to contribute data by using our initial algorithms

OpenSynth was contributed to LF Energy in 2024 by the Centre for Net Zero.