We are becoming a separate company

In April 2019, the Electricity System Operator is becoming a separate company within the National Grid Group. Find out more about what this change will mean.

Innovating for our energy future

The ESO has published its Network Innovation Allowance Annual Summary for 2017/18. This highlights key areas where the ESO is investing in innovation to improve services while developing new products for customers and, ultimately, to benefit consumers.

Launching the annual summary, Head of Innovation Strategy Carolina Tortora said: “We are very excited to be driving the innovation that will create energy networks fit for the future. We have listened to our stakeholders and our innovation programme reflects their priorities for safer and more efficient energy systems.”

This year also marks the launch of the first innovation strategy solely for the System Operator (SO) in its new, separate role within the National Grid Group. The strategy sets out 16 key areas of importance, for both the Gas and Electricity SO businesses, that has seen £4.6m of funding spent last year and determined where the SO will continue to collaborate with industry partners.

We are very excited to be driving the innovation that will create energy networks fit for the future.

- Carolina Tortora, Head of Innovation Strategy, System Operator

Key highlights from 2017/18 include:

  • Power Potential – a project developed with Distribution Network Operator partner UK Power Networks, aimed at using greater volumes of renewable generation on the system to run the grid more efficiently and potentially save consumers up to £412m by 2050
  • Forecasts and modelling projects with the Turing and Smith Institutes – both aimed at improving our forecasting abilities, delivering true savings for the consumers through our increased ability to correctly predict embedded generation
  • System Impacts of Embedded Storage – studying residential storage in order to not only assess its benefits to the system but also its potential risks and impacts on the grid.

Carolina said that the SO innovation strategy and its project portfolio will be constantly developing to take account of the change in the industry, adding that the SO would also be looking overseas to find new areas for innovation – including visiting other transmission and independent system operators to share best practice and collaborate in finding solutions to future challenges. This would include a greater emphasis on new markets tools and products, on modelling and forecasting technologies to predict future trends, and on new ways to make the grid more resilient to change.