The Energy Networks Association (ENA) has set out a roadmap for the next generation of electricity network innovation projects within its new integrated Innovation Strategy.
The association worked with Regen to run a consultation along with a series of workshops, engaging with 350 members of the energy sector to identify six core principles needed to ensure consumer and wider benefits from network innovation.
These areas included data and digitalisation, flexibility and market evolution, net zero and the energy system transition, optimised assets and practices, supporting consumers in vulnerable situations and whole energy system transition.
“We’re excited to launch our first integrated whole systems Innovation Strategy and to bring our electricity and gas networks closer together to deliver the innovations needed to deliver Net Zero,” said Dan Clarke, head of innovation at the ENA.
“We’ve worked extremely closely across a number of industries to deliver a roadmap for the next generation of innovation projects and consulted with hundreds of people from across the energy industry and beyond to deliver a strategy that is coordinated and focused on the key priorities facing our energy system, whilst delivering benefits for customers.”
The landscape has change dramatically since ENA’s innovation strategies were published two years ago, the association noted, with funding streams and mechanisms changing, a bigger push towards net zero and clearer working partnership.
A collaborative approach as already become key, the Innovation Strategy highlights. Between 2020 and 2021, 95% of innovation projects included multiple network companies, and 88% involved working with third party organisation.
With distribution networks looking ahead to the next price control period, RIIO-ED2 which starts in 2023, as well as gas distribution and electricity transmission networks having entered theirs, the strategy is designed to give a clear direction for innovation projects.
ENA recently celebrated its Open Networks programme – which itself supports flexibility and collaboration, two of the Innovation Strategy’s core principles – reaching the five year mark, with the launch of a new online hub.
Current± and the ENA are hosting a webinar on the opportunities for industry within a more flexible energy network as the penetration of renewables continues to grow. To find out more and register to be part of the event on Wednesday 13 April 13 2022, click here.