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’ commitment 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.”

Join the EIC and experts from, Cadent, UK Power Networks, Wales & West Utilities and Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks in the first of a new webinar series – Virtual Meet the Networks: Understanding the UK Energy Networks’ Innovation Pipeline to find out more about the UK energy networks’ innovation plans. Book your place here.  

UK Energy Networks involved in Innovator and Industry Operating Charter:

Cadent Gas

UK Power Networks

Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks

Wales & West Utilities

National Grid Electricity Transmission

SP Energy Networks

Northern Gas Networks

Northern Powergrid

To view the Innovator and Industry Charter, click here.

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Achieving net zero targets is one of the biggest challenges facing the energy and utilities industry, but by innovating together we can drive change and deliver a decarbonised future. Our industry partners are always looking for innovative new solutions to the challenges they face, including net zero, which is why we provide a platform where innovators like you can respond to the latest innovation opportunities and challenges, and submit your innovative ideas. Our expert team have an extensive knowledge base, allowing us to consistently help our partners to address challenges, and to support our innovation community. This enables innovators and industry to come together and build a strong innovation culture and streamline innovation processes.