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EIC Innovation Review 2019/20 Together we innovate

Innovation drives the world we live in.

That's why, over a decade ago, seven of the UK’s energy networks came together. To create the EIC and bring innovation forward and improve performance as the world transitions to a low carbon economy.

Today, the EIC is still a not for profit organisation, with the same goals, working with companies across a range of sectors and with innovators from around the globe. Over 150 calls for innovation have been launched and 85% of these calls have been successful in sourcing a solution.

There are three main functions of the EIC:

  • A shared platform to bring our partners and our innovator community together.
  • A process to take projects from idea to business as usual
  • A team of technical and commercial people who make the journey happen

Foreword

Denise Massey, Managing Director, EIC

As we race towards a net zero economy, innovation has never been more important. Over the past year, our innovation community and partners have once again stepped up to meet the challenge on a number of fronts, demonstrating that together, we can power positive change.

This year’s innovation review shows that collaboration projects across the networks continue to accelerate. Our platform is supporting more innovators year on year, our processes are driving projects through at a faster pace and our team is stepping up to the challenge that a growing portfolio of projects presents.

We still have much work to do and I am excited that the development of the industry wide innovation measurement framework, as well as the collective adoption of the Innovator and Industry Charter which launched earlier this year, will add fuel to the great work our innovator community and networks are already delivering.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved, community, partners and my EIC colleagues for their endless tenacity and commitment to help us achieve our mission to secure a safe, affordable net zero future that improves the quality of people’s lives.

2019/20 at a glance

Highlights

Helping the industry and innovators work together is what we do, and we are passionate about fostering collaborative innovation between our innovation community and our industry partners. Over the past year, we’ve seen the development and delivery of a range of transformative innovation projects, all working to improve the quality of people’s lives and drive a unified approach to achieving our net zero targets.

Innovation Measurement Framework

The pioneering industry wide Innovation Measurement Framework adopted by all energy companies will play a key role in measuring innovation in RIIO2.

The EIC , together with the Energy Networks Association (ENA), Ofgem, and consultancy firm Baringa, have supported the industry in developing the world’s first industry wide Innovation Measurement Framework.

The Innovation Measurement Framework, a project initially commissioned by the EIC, is the first live and transparent dashboard that monitors innovation projects for the energy networks.

Smart SLG – 1Spatial

Working in collaboration with Northern Gas Networks, 1Spatial developed the Smart SLG (signing, lighting, guarding) solution which uses geospatial technology to create a map and inventory to be used for planning and on site.

RTFLM – Outram

SP Energy Networks worked closely with Outram Research to jointly develop prototype “Real Time Fault Level Monitors (RTFLMs)” to help active management of its network. We are now progressing phase 2 of the project, joined by UK Power Networks.

Above & Beyond

A landmark project, paving the way for utility companies to use drones to inspect network infrastructure.

Above & Beyond was also crowned the 'Partnership Initiative of the Year' at this year's prestigious Network Awards.

New partnerships: Innovating in the water sector

We began our journey into the water sector in 2018, collaborating with Anglian Water, Yorkshire Water and Ervia. We were then joined by Northumbrian Water in 2019.

Over the past two years, we have presented some great opportunities to our Innovator Community, including the launch of 8 Calls for Innovation led by the water companies.

In response to these opportunities, our Innovator Community rose to the challenge and put forward some fantastic solutions which were greatly received by the water companies. A number of these innovations are now being progressed, either directly with the water companies themselves, or through collaborative projects with the EIC.

Project highlight

Supporting our community of innovators

At the EIC, we appreciate the value of third-party innovators and SMEs in enabling innovation within the industry and are committed to championing their role and supporting the development of new ideas and innovations.

Innovators can find useful resources on our Innovator Support Page, which collates all the free support tools and information that we have for innovators, in one place.

Key Innovator Support features that we have launched include:

  • Information on our Innovation Opportunities
  • Our Funding Finder tool which gives SMEs and innovators access to over 1,500 live funding opportunities from the likes of HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, and European Regional Development Fund
  • UK Testing Facilities Map which allows innovators to find cutting-edge facilities to help test and refine their innovations.
  • Support Guides & Resources to share our knowledge of the industry, including our new “Guide to Intellectual Property & NIA projects”

Innovator and Industry Charter

Research conducted by the UK energy networks through the EIC 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.

Presenting the Innovator Impact Panel

At the EIC, we pride ourselves on championing the voice of the innovator. We want to give innovators in our industry the opportunity to be heard, and to make a positive difference.

The EIC formed the Innovator Impact Panel; a steering group of 20 SMEs and innovators from the EIC’s Innovation Community. Find out more about our Innovator Impact Panel and how they are helping shape the future of the industry here.

Celebrating innovation: UK Energy Innovation Awards 2019

On Thursday 26 September at Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel, we hosted our bi-annual UK Energy Innovation Awards.

With over 350 guests, from utility colleagues from multiple sectors to innovators big and small, the event was a huge success and showcased some of the amazing work being carried out by innovators across the industry.

The EIC would like to say a huge thank you to those that took part in this year’s awards, including their fantastic host, Hal Cruttenden, their brilliant panel of judges, and the continued support from their industry partners.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the awards in 2021 to celebrate the latest innovators and solutions that are driving the industry forward.

Opening the proceedings, Dermot Nolan, CEO of Ofgem, said:

This evening is a remarkable celebration of the good work being done to drive innovation into our energy systems. However, we need more innovation from third parties and those outside of the sector to help support the scale and pace of change needed to meet the demand for a net zero carbon future.
For this to happen we must create a level playing field for innovators and that is why the EIC plays such an important role. Innovation will be important to decarbonising the system at lowest cost to consumers. The next price control will be tougher on the industry but will reward those networks pushing innovation and bringing new technology into business as usual.”

Credits:

Created with images by kimi lee - "Night highway " • Jared Brashier - "untitled image" • Margot RICHARD - "untitled image"