Electricity Innovation Forum #1
March 2018, etcVenues, Birmingham
On the 21st March 2018, Energy Networks Association hosted the first Electricity Innovation Forum, a joint dissemination event between Great Britain’s electricity networks, in Birmingham. The forum was aimed at stakeholders who were interested in the outputs of current innovation projects and looking to get involved in future innovation activities. The focus of the forum was dynamic ratings and asset management which allowed the networks to share the latest insights from their related innovation projects, which have been funded through the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA).
Our member’s purpose is to build an efficient, smarter, cleaner energy system fit for Britain’s homes and businesses and the Innovation Forums help them achieve this by gaining valuable insights and feedback on vital innovation projects. There was a significant demand from stakeholders leading up to the forum and all 130 free tickets were reserved. The all-day event was an overwhelming success and was attended by a broad range of industry representatives, including Ofgem, with ENA’s electricity transmission and distribution members presenting.
One of the reasons behind the Electricity Innovation Forum is to encourage 3rd party involvement in network innovation projects. One of the ways our members are doing this is through the Network Innovation Collaboration Portal. This tool has been introduced to allow stakeholders a chance to get involved, whether it be through pitching innovation projects to the networks or receiving notifications when the networks are looking for ideas all of which is free to sign up to. A link can be found here: http://www.nicollaborationportal.org/proposal-information
The day gave the electricity networks and wider participants a chance to see some of the network innovation activity being delivered, as well as contribute feedback, observations and questions to subject matter experts. Not only did this mean that attendees were able to gain a greater understanding of the projects currently underway and meet those responsible for their development and application, but just as importantly, meant that the ENA members were able to receive third-party feedback and take this back for future consideration.
While the projects varied technically, speakers raised several common points which were considered key to successful innovation and integration into Business As Usual (BAU):
- Early involvement with IT departments to ensure new developments can be easily integrate with existing systems
- Assessment of commercial viability of solutions
- Consideration of additional benefits which could be derived from new systems, equipment or data.
From polls conducted at the event, we found that ‘Network improvements and system operability’ is what the majority of the audience were interested in, while ‘Transition to a low carbon future’ and New technologies and commercial evolution’ followed closely behind. Attendees were also interested in hearing more about the areas below at future events. This helps give us and networks an understanding in to themes that stakeholders are interested in and areas we can focus on in future events and projects.
Following the success of the event, we are planning the next EIF to be held at ENA’s London Bridge office in June with the theme of ‘New Technologies & Commercial Evolution’. An event page containing further information will be announced shortly. You can also see more details for the Low Carbon Network Innovation (LNCI) event for this year here: http://www.lcniconference.org/. To keep up to date with future Innovation Forums please follow us on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/energynetworks