Better & swifter connections, AI-based network optimisation, leveraging storage, communications and engagement are all critical areas needed, if Britain’s power grids are to reach Net Zero by mid-century, according to the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

Numerous, interlocking dimensions of improvement are flagged as necessary in the ENA’s Energy Innovation Atlas, a report developed by consultants LCP Delta.

LCP Delta interviewed 300 industry representatives for their views on innovation needed to achieve Net Zero. The study sought input on five key pillars of innovation;

  • developing assets and infrastructure,
  • facilitating digitalisation,
  • managing assets and optimising systems,
  • meeting customers’ needs, and
  • attracting talent and investment

Over eight workshops and associated online consultations, LCP Delta and the ENA explored these key pillars to identify 24 innovation ‘way points’, characterised by knotty challenges, all requiring a vision on managers’ change of mindset and skills.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Developing by 2028 a supply chain that is fit-for-purpose, able to underpin an expansion I Britain’s transmission & distribution network, enabling radical transformation in their functions
  • Better communication within and external to the power industry, supporting a ‘whole systems’ approach.
  • Opening up access to markets access, welcoming in smaller innovators to fair and easy participation, as well as easing funding access to smaller players.
  • Clarifying a workable definition of energy storage, and freeing its providers to operate assets more proactively it across the network, against a proposed deadline of 2032.
  • Communicating better with customers and the wider public, ensure roles and their consequences in who and how Britain’s energy system must be decarbonised. New skills functions and data sets are required.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Tom Veli, energy networks head at LCP Delta, the ENA’s advisors, said:

“Energy networks are at a critical point with demand beginning to increase rapidly as the low-carbon economy picks up further.

“This means that operators are facing the challenge of rapidly developing their networks as they look to accommodate the surging demand.

“This monumental shift imposes extra responsibilities on the networks, particularly in respect of interactions with customers, with the industry, alongside regulators and policymakers. The industry must drive a concerted effort into delivering the innovations that are needed.

To access the full report, click here.


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