Research conducted by the UK energy networks through the EIC (formerly the Energy Innovation Centre) has resulted in a pioneering Innovator and Industry Charter. The Charter aims to significantly strengthen engagement between the global innovation community and the UK energy networks. Given the energy networks’ response to the Net Zero targets and the UK’s Green Recovery, the Charter will ensure that more innovation becomes business as usual faster and more cost effectively.
The research, published as the Innovator Insight Report, was commissioned by the EIC on behalf of the energy networks, and revealed that following successful innovation R+D projects, over a third of SMEs experienced challenges at procurement, delaying implementation into operations. In addition, a further 41% said that navigating the often-complicated procurement process of energy networks was prohibitive.
As a result, the energy networks, in collaboration with the EIC, have acted on the recommendations outlined in the report. The Innovator and Industry Charter’s action plan gives a voice to innovators which will directly impact on how network partners do business – resulting in a more effective innovation pipeline.
Denise Massey, managing director at the EIC comments:
“Given the climate emergency and the continued pressing need for change and increased pace, the Innovator and Industry Charter is a clear signal from the Industry of its willingness to challenge itself to ultimately improve access and engagement with SME innovators.”
The Charter has initially set out three key actions:
A single innovator engagement platform: The innovator engagement platform is an industry-wide calendar that will serve as a one-stop-shop for innovators to identify opportunities, events, and key industry deadlines all in one place, and from a number of key stakeholders like the EIC, ENA, the energy networks and Ofgem.
Best practice guidelines: The energy networks, through the EIC, will produce a unified set of guidance for innovators to understand the innovation project lifespan through to deploying solutions into the networks as business as usual, including addressing the challenge of procurement.
Collaborative Third-Party Engagement: The partnership is working to simplify the stakeholder engagement process to deliver more collaborative and effective insights
Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks said:
"We’ve listened to our innovator community when they told us in the Innovator Insight report they valued engaging with utilities with more pace and collaboration across the industry. The charter is evidence of our commitment to work with SMEs so we can all deliver a cleaner, greener future for the industry and our customers.”
To view the Innovator and Industry Charter, click here.