Innovation … our current System Operator ambition

In this article – where we are publishing our thinking in a number of areas, across both electricity and gas, out to 2030 – we focus on our System Operator Innovation Strategy.

Our vision for the future of energy will be delivered by new technologies, new marketplaces and different ways of thinking – and, thanks to our innovation programme, the System Operator will be at the forefront of creating tomorrow’s energy systems.

Our current emphasis is on finding new ways to make the grid more resilient to rapid decarbonisation and decentralisation; working with our network partners to optimise across the whole electricity and energy systems, on new market tools and products, and novel modelling and forecasting technologies to predict future trends.

Our Towards 2030 document sets forth a challenging ambition for a low carbon future. Our Innovation Strategy for 2019/20 features a strategy refresh, which is fully aligned to this vision, and further engages in a gap analysis – looking at our current capabilities, where we need to be and how we can use innovation to shape the new tools and services to deliver our vision.

In this context, innovation provides solutions and solves problems that we’ll be facing in the medium to long term. Through the funding of specifically targeted projects, we can bravely trial new technologies and ideas, in a contained and safe environment, that we would otherwise be too scared to attempt.

We then implement these learnings by either feeding them into future innovation, or directly into our business operations. The idea behind this is that, by investing small, ring-fenced sums today, we will be able to save the consumer much bigger amounts of money in the future; because we will be able to quickly identify, develop, test and use new solutions to deliver networks that are efficient, flexible and robust in a timely manner, thus avoiding last minute costly patches.

We have some key criteria that informs all our thinking: we want to deliver more robust networks; we want to increase competition by allowing more players to access our networks; we want to be future-ready, to control and leverage technologies to deliver our vision; and, above all, we want to deliver a low-carbon future for society.

We also take a step back and look at our past year, and how we delivered against our set performance indicators, to ensure transparency as well as invite participation and support – making sure we keep delivering the best value for our stakeholders.

We look forward to innovating together as an industry, to deliver the future GB energy system vision we all share.