A programme of workshops to accelerate innovation within the UK energy industry has been launched by the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), which has its headquarters in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
As the gas and electricity distribution networks prepare for RIIO ED-2 and GDN-2, the EIC is staging a series of ‘innovation labs’ to identify the biggest problems facing its network partners and to understand the future role of innovation in addressing them.
The sessions, which will be run by the EIC team, will be open to a broad cross section of network employees who will be asked to share their opinions and experiences on the priorities and needs from different areas of the network businesses.
The EIC’s managing director, Denise Massey, said: “The EIC works with innovation managers from each energy network who deal directly with commissioning and implementing innovation projects.
“Through hosting these innovation labs the EIC will be working with other colleagues within the energy networks, providing insight into the problems faced by individuals throughout the organisation, which will enable the EIC to adopt processes that will solve those issues for the benefit of the energy customer.”
Once the problem areas have been identified, the EIC will run an open innovation call to its global innovation community of over 1850 with the aim of solving some of the issues identified.
Over the last 12 months, the EIC has engaged with over 150 innovators through its ‘calls for innovation’ process which provides a gateway for innovators to access the networks by informing the innovator community of the challenges facing the networks, and allowing innovators to make networks aware of their potentially game-changing technologies.
“We have over 1,800 SMEs from across the world in our innovation community and it is constantly growing as our team continues to scout out new innovations”, explains Denise. “The calls for innovation process has been really successful so far with the networks and SMEs involved both benefiting. The network is able to trial new technologies to improve their operations and the innovator has its product used by one of UK energy networks – it’s win, win.
“Ultimately, the purpose of the lab sessions is to increase the pace at which our industry partners innovate and provide solutions to their biggest challenges which will ultimately lead to a pipeline of projects being adopted into business as usual.”
For more information and to keep up to date with the latest the calls for innovation from our network partners, visit: www.energyinnovationcentre.com/innovation