UK Energy costs are dominating the news at the moment. Wholesale gas and electricity prices are rising and the costs are starting to be passed on to the consumer and businesses. Multiple elecricity suppliers, who had many customers signed up for fixed price deals, have gone bankrupt as they have to buy the energy at prices much higher than they are contracted to charge.

As gas is often used in power plants to generate electricity, the high cost of gas also impacts the price of electricity. Added to this, lower than normal wind farm output is also limiting the renewables contribution, thereby triggering greater reliance on fossil-fuel based generation.

With Splunk we often monitor mission critical data and what could be more mission critical than energy production? During Lockdown Part 1 (UK Covid Lockdown Timeline) we wrote an add-on for Splunk that pulls data relating to the UK’s energy production. The add-on is available for free to download from splunkbase.

Install the Carbon Intensity Add-on

The easiest installation method is from within Splunk. Navigate to “Manage Apps” then hit “Browse More Apps”. Search for “carbon intensity” and the add-on should be listed.

Splunk screenshot showing installation of the add-on for carbon intensity
Installing the Add-on for Carbon Intensity

Click “Install”, Login to splunkbase with your credentials and follow the prompts through to “Restart Splunk”.

Show me the Data

The add-on comes with three inputs:

  • generation: generation mix for the GB power system (gas, coal, wind, solar, etc)
  • intensity: CO2 emissions related to current GB electricity generation
  • regional: CO2 emissions related to current GB electricity generation (countries and regions)
Splunk screenshot showing the data inputs for the carbon intensity add-on
Data inputs that come with the add-on

A very straightfoward Splunk search can then reveal the current breakdown of electricity generation in Great Britain. The output of this search is best viewed as a pie chart.

Note that the data is updated at source every 30 minutes, so you can also plot the changes over time.

index=main sourcetype="carbon_intensity:generation"
|stats latest(perc) by fuel
pie chart showing the current energy production breakdown by generation type
How is electricity currently being generated in Great Britain (correct at time of screenshot)


The data can quickly be used to create a dashboard. In the example below we compare the current generation mix and carbon intensity for the whole of Great Britain with Scotland. In the stats table we then present a view of carbon intensity per region.

Splunk dashboard showing electricity generation stats for GB, Scotland and the DNO regions
Splunk Dashboard showing carbon intensity statistics

So What?

By understanding the carbon intensity of your region you can make informed choices about when to use power hungry appliances, thereby reducing your personal carbon impact. This, as the quote below shows, is the aim of Carbon Intensity, the provider of the underlying API used by this Splunk Add-on.

The goal of this API service is to allow developers to produce applications that will enable consumers and/or smart devices to optimise their behaviour to minimise CO2 emissions.


Using Splunk, can you recreate this map of the UK colour coding each region based on the current carbon intensity? If you manage, let us know, there could even be a prize for the best submission.

Map of the UK showing carbon intensity per region
Posted by:Stuart Robertson

Stuart Robertson is the Consulting Director at iDelta. He is one of the initial founders of iDelta and has worked there since formation in 2001. Stuart holds various certifications in Core Splunk and ITSI. Stuart also holds a Bsc(Hons) in Computing Science from the University of Glasgow.

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