May 05, 2024

Faraday: Synthetic Smart Meter Generator for the Smart Grid


Centre for Net Zero


Access to smart meter data is essential to rapid and successful transitions to electrified grids, underpinned by flexibility delivered by low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles (EV) and heat pumps, and powered by renewable energy. Yet little of this data is available for research and modelling purposes due consumer privacy protections. Whilst many are calling for raw datasets to be unlocked through regulatory changes, we believe this approach will take too long. Synthetic data addresses these challenges directly by overcoming privacy issues. In this paper, we present Faraday, a Variational Auto-encoder (VAE)-based model trained over 300 million smart meter data readings from an energy supplier in the UK, with information such as property type and low carbon technologies (LCTs) ownership. The model produces household-level synthetic load profiles conditioned on these labels, and we compare its outputs against actual substation readings to show how the model can be used for real-world applications by grid modellers interested in modelling energy grids of the future.