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We talk to Ben Watts about Kilowatts Grid

2024 May GTSW Oliver Cronk and Ben Watts

We’re looking forward to welcoming Ben Watts from Kilowatts Grid to our next meetup event on Thursday 2nd May for our ‘open source in Green Tech’ themed session.

Kilowatts grid is an open-source mobile and web app showing the live output of hundreds of generators and inter-connectors around GB, spanning from the largest thermal generators to the newest batteries and wind-farms. It also shows live balancing information, highlighting wind curtailment and ESO real-time responses.

In his talk Ben will take us through what the app can do and how it can be helpful. He’ll also talk about some of the challenges in the UK energy grid and what the future holds for his app.


Ben is a self-employed full stack energy developer, passionate about creating innovative and scalable solutions for the energy transition. With over 6 years of experience in energy modelling and forecasting, he’s developed tools and applications for solar, heating, investment analysis, and pricing, using CircleCI, Apollo GraphQL, AWS SageMaker, and other technologies.

His mission is to help clients and stakeholders make informed and strategic decisions in the evolving energy market.

Ben very kindly answered a few questions giving us a sneak peak as to what to expect from his talk:

Can you tell us more about yourself and how you became involved in Green Tech?

I’d split my answer on that into two parts:

On Green, I was interested from an early age, it runs in the Watts family. My grandad/uncle designed furnaces/maximum demand controllers and my dad was an energy consultant to hotels/restaurants. When I was at school, I once persuaded my chemistry teacher to show me and a friend how to make biodiesel with veg oil and sodium hydroxide.

On Tech, I actually didn’t learn to code (at least well) till my mid 20s (it’s never too late to start!). I learnt a lot of Econometrics and forecasting techniques doing Economics at uni (R/Python), but my main motivation to get more into tech was when I got sick being an Excel/Powerpoint monkey at a traditional consultancy. I also hated having to do corporate lobbying (e.g. for LPG producers against heat pumps or Biomass generators against wind/solar).

What is the Kilowatts Grid?

It’s an open source, close-to-real time web/mobile map app showing the live output (and balancing actions) of major generation sources and interconnector flows/directions. You can see for yourself in a few seconds at

What are your hopes for the product?

1) – To highlight how the grid is balanced minute-to-minute, where our generation is, and which direction inter-connectors are flowing. You need to visualise it to bring it to life and highlight major problems like wind curtailment; traditional apps with a generation mix piechart updated every 5-10 minutes just don’t cut it. I’d also like to highlight (and provide the code as an example) for anyone looking to try and understand how to use the free publicly available info on the Elexon/National Grid APIs – they can be quite intimidating at first, but they’ve recently got much easier to use!

2) – To shine a light on React Native (and React), in which the frontend code is written. Though it powers major apps like WhatsApp/Insta/Microsoft-Office/Facebook/Amazon/Shopify/Twitter (, it’s under appreciated in Europe and in the Energy sector, especially as a way of writing one code base for web/iOS/Android/MacOS/Windows/Cars/TVs/Watches/EvChargers etc.

What’s your assessment of the state and challenges of the UK energy grid?

I’m an optimist, and we have the technology and the capital markets to decarbonise and cut costs; even if we’re not as blessed with solar as some other countries. But we’ve made a lot of mistakes, and if we’re not to dig our kids deeper into a hole, the next Government needs to be really bold taking on vested interests like NIMBYs, gas companies/unions, landlords. Even grid companies, innovative suppliers, trade bodies like MC and IoT OEMs or EV Charger networks don’t necessarily have public/consumer/environmental interests strictly at heart. They need to think really hard, long-term and if possible in a bipartisan way so we can have more stability and simplify in how energy works.

What can we do to support Kilowatts Grid?

  1. Appstore reviews please ( /
  2. Tell any colleagues/friends – even if you don’t code yourself – maybe you know people who might be interested looking at the source-code for the app.
  3. Pickup an existing GitHub issue ( to help improve the app.
  4. Help me expand functionality/coverage in a dimension you think is interesting, whether that’s new generators, price information, demand, micro generation etc. For someone more into backend/Python/AWS – then helping me cover new countries/geographies could be really rewarding!

Thanks Ben for the chat!

Please do join us either online or in-person at the Scott Logic offices (6.30-8pm on Thursday 2nd May) – RSVP here