Energy networks launch next stage of innovation strategy plans

Release: Immediate
Date: 24/10/17
The UK’s energy networks will today kick off the second phase of developing plans to put gas and electricity grids at the forefront of energy innovation, as the energy industry will be invited to take part in a number of workshop events in November.  
Energy Networks Association (ENA), representing the UK’s 15 gas and electricity transmission and distribution networks, is today opening registration for two industry workshops on its Electricity Innovation Strategy to be hosted in November. The workshops, which are free to attend and will be held in Glasgow and London, have been designed to seek maximum input from stakeholders in shaping the future of network innovation. 
Consultation documents on the gas and electricity networks’ Joint Innovation Strategies will also be launched in the coming weeks. Network innovation is essential to creating smarter, cleaner energy grids to deliver financial benefits to consumers. Examples of innovation include battery storage and electric vehicle-2-grid projects being developed by electricity networks, and biomethane, bioSNG and hydrogen projects being developed by gas networks. 
These projects allow network operators to better understand how to integrate new low-carbon technologies into our energy networks, helping identify new opportunities for their use and speeding up their wider adoption. Smart network solutions connected at a local electricity grid level alone have already enabled close to £1bn of cost savings for customers.
The networks are taking a whole systems approach to network innovation, where both gas and electricity is considered as well as the interdependence between power, heat, transport and waste. This approach is vital in order to ensure the networks deliver what energy customers want and need in the most efficient and cost effective way, given the scale of the challenge of decarbonising our economy and the uncertainty about how our climate, customer behaviour and new technology will evolve to shape our energy future. 
This next phase of engagement continues a process launched in August by ENA, when plans to develop two joint network innovation strategies– a Gas Network Innovation Strategy and an Electricity Network Innovation Strategy - were announced.
David Smith, CEO of ENA comments:
“In recent years the UK has established itself as a world leader in smart grid technology through the innovation projects led by network companies. Through the joint innovation strategies and initiatives like the Open Network Project, network companies want to hear the best and the brightest ideas of how we can harness the potential of energy technology.
“At the heart of this process is the question of how our networks can act as a platform for launching new energy technologies and services that will put the UK at the forefront of a global low carbon transformation.”

Notes for Editors

  •  ENA’s second industry stakeholder consultation for the electricity innovation strategy opens on 17th November 2017, and will look at how to solve the challenges and gaps identified using innovation projects.
  •  ENA’s industry stakeholder consultation for the gas network innovation strategy opens on 1st November 2017, and will ask for stakeholder views on the challenges, gaps and innovation activity identified.
  •  As part of the phase 2 of the electricity innovation strategy consultation, two free workshops are being held in:

Glasgow – 21st November 2017 10 am – 3.30 pm
London – 23rd November 2017  10 am – 3.30 pm

  •  There will be further opportunities for stakeholder engagement on both strategies at ENA's LCNI Conference in Telford from the 5-7th December 2017.
  •  Full details of the Electricity Network Innovation Strategy are available here
  •  For further information on the Electricity Network Innovation Strategy please contact [email protected].
  •  Further information on gas network innovation, the gas network ‘problem statements’ and the Gas Network Innovation Strategy are available here. For further information please contact [email protected]
  •  Information on Open Networks Project is available here.
  •  The strategies will be designed to help facilitate the transition to a low carbon energy system and will set out how network companies provide value for money from innovation projects they are undertaking, how they will share the lessons learnt from those projects with other organisations, and how they plan to integrate those lessons into their day to day operations.
  •  The first consultation phase of the Electricity Network Innovation Strategy closed at the beginning of October and asked for views on what the challenges facing the networks are. The results of this are published on ENA’s website and will inform the second phase of the consultation, where stakeholders are encouraged to provide input into how to solve the challenges and gaps identified.
  •  The existing gas network ‘problem statements’, developed in conjunction with the wider industry, will form the basis of the challenge and gap sections of the Gas Network Innovation Strategy.
  •  Places are limited at the workshops so registration is essential, and those unable to attend are encouraged to provide responses to the Consultation or attend ENA’s LCNI Conference in December, where there will be further opportunities for engagement.
  •  The National Infrastructure Commission estimates that a UK smart power revolution – principally built around three innovations, interconnection, storage, and demand flexibility –  that  could save consumers £8 billion a year by 2030.

For more information contact

 Matthew Pringle 

UK and European Communications Manager 

Energy Networks Association 

Direct Email: [email protected] 

Press Team: [email protected] 

M: +44 (0) 7792 220 974