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Energy Minister opens first virtual networks innovation conference

08 December 2020

Press contacts for journalists

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org

Over 1,800 delegates from nearly 90 countries sign up to attend this year's virtual Energy Networks Innovation Conference.

ENA’s 2020 Energy Networks Innovation Conference (ENIC) officially opened today, offering innovators from the energy industry a chance to find out about the UK’s world-leading network innovation and decarbonisation efforts.

Attendees to the conference, which this year is virtual and free to attend, will gain unique insights from experts across gas and electricity networks on key projects and future innovation plans.

Keynote

The conference was opened with a keynote address from Business, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Rt Hon. Kwasi Kwarteng MP, where he underscored the importance of reaching net zero, calling it the ‘defining challenge of our time’, before saying that ‘we will get there from an ongoing dialogue and cooperation from government and industry.’

The Minister also noted the importance of ENIC, and how it’s really important to have forums like this to discuss how to get to net zero, as "30 years’ time will be on us in a blink of an eye".

During the Q&A session he noted that the Energy White Paper is expected 'very, very soon', with the government originally outlining a promise to publish it this year.

Deep dive

The UK’s energy network companies are leading the drive to net zero carbon emissions through flagship ENA projects Open Networks and Gas Goes Green. Day 1 of the conference featured a 'deep dive' session on the Open Networks project in the session ‘what do you need from the future energy grid?’ The panel session, chaired by Louise Van Rensburg of Ofgem, asked delegates what their top three priorities were for Open Networks’ flexibility development next year, and the importance of whole energy system coordination and open data.

We also heard from Steven McMahon, Deputy Director, Electricity Distribution Network Price Controls and Cross Sector Policy at Ofgem, who outlined what Ofgem is looking for in future NIC and NIA projects.

Matthew Billson, Deputy Director, Energy Innovation – Strategy and Portfolio, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) talked us through the future direction of the UK’s energy system and the role of innovation, and there were fascinating discussions on the important role of hydrogen in the UK's energy mix.

Coming up tomorrow

Day 2 will feature a special session on Gas Goes Green and a panel session moderated by Laura Sandys of the Energy Data Task force, and Non-Executive Director at SGN, on ‘how do networks deliver the hydrogen transition?’ to outline plans for 2021 and give attendees a chance to influence next year’s programme.

The virtual Energy Networks Innovation Conference also features a huge range of stands, demonstrations, and on-demand videos on projects from around the industry. Private networking is available between delegates and exhibitors via text or video chat.

You can still register for tomorrow's sessions

Register now and join us for free. You can also get involved in the conversation by using #ENIConf20 on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).

Press contacts for journalists

ENA Press Office

press@energynetworks.org