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Case study: Scottish Power

State of Open: The UK in 2021

Phase Three: “The Value of Open”

Douglas Smith, Director Digital, Innovation & Transformation


Scottish Power is the first integrated energy company in the UK to generate 100% green electricity and open source software plays a vital part in this. They are currently investing heavily in upskilling employees and open source software content such as Python is being used as part of this, with IT proficiency becoming increasingly necessary. They believe that open source and sustainability can go hand in hand and that this should be a priority for all companies aiming for a more sustainable future.

8.2 Scottish Power

The opportunity open source software brings for digital transformation and sustainability

In conversation with Douglas Smith, Director Digital, Innovation & Transformation Director


About ScottishPower

ScottishPower is the first integrated energy company in the UK to generate 100% green electricity. It’s part of the Iberdrola Group, one of the world’s largest integrated utility companies and a world leader in wind energy. They recently established a brand new digital services capability in the IT function to allow the company to keep pace with the broader digital transformation happening in the energy sector. Open source will be key to the future of engineering at ScottishPower. When it comes to internal engineering, open source software (notably Java platforms) is already entrenched throughout their architectural footprint – particularly for their customer facing software.

Open source as part of a broader upskill

ScottishPower are investing heavily in upskilling their employees. Educational tools found on online learning platforms are being deployed including open source software content, such as Python, which is used extensively across the company. The need for IT proficiency throughout the organisation will only increase further.

Douglas explains that “the boundaries of IT are becoming very blurred…many more people in the organisation will be engineering software in the future in comparison to what happens today and used to happen”. Citizen data scientists, for example, are already using Python to develop their latest models.

Going forward sustainably: open source as part of the solution

Douglas believes that demonstrating the sustainability credentials of open source software could be a distinctive point of reference and encourage more organisations to adopt it as part of a green decision making mindset.

Douglas explains: “If you can turn open source software into the most sustainable set of software that any organisation should be running, this will play to a priority that every corporate organisation is going to have to walk through in the future”. Open source can be part of the net-zero solution for companies going forward, in part by harnessing the communities’ enthusiasm for driving energy efficiency solutions and also by its very reusable nature.

As we move towards a green future, open source’s relationship with sustainability needs to be addressed further in order for it to reach its full potential.

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