22 Nov 2017
Gas and electricity networks turn up focus on innovation ahead of the UK’s largest smart grid conference

The UK’s gas and electricity networks are turning up their focus on energy innovation this week, as they prepare for the seventh annual Low Carbon Network Innovation (LCNI) Conference in Telford.

Today marks the two week countdown to the opening of the event, which is the UK’s largest public electricity and gas smart grid conference. Hosted by Energy Networks Association (ENA), it brings together all of the UK’s gas and electricity network companies with Government, regulators and key industry spokespeople to provide attendees with a unique opportunity to discuss electricity and gas smart grid innovation with stakeholders from all parts of the country and the energy sector. Attendees will also see first-hand how energy network infrastructure is changing to adapt to the challenges of a fast changing energy market.


Contributors this year include senior representatives of BEIS, Ofgem, Energy Systems Catapult, Imperial College, Newcastle University and Strathclyde University. The event will use an innovative, interactive presentation that will facilitate live polling of the audience in real time.


Independent research carried out by Pöyry has shown that innovation projects by local electricity networks could deliver up to £1.7bn of benefits by 2031. KPMG research has shown that a whole-systems approach to energy innovation based on our evolution of our gas networks could save consumers as much as £200bn by 2050.


The Conference will also feature the launch of the Open Networks End of Year Report and host a major joint consultation event on the gas and electricity network Innovation Strategies, published earlier this month. Open Networks has been identified by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as a ‘key’ energy industry initiative that will transform the way our energy networks work, underpinning the delivery of the smart grid.


David Smith, CEO of Energy Networks Association, comments:


“As the UK’s largest electricity and gas smart grid conference, the LCNI Conference has an important role in bringing together some of the UK’s leading stakeholders in energy innovation. Active in communities and regions across the UK, our networks are already recognised as some as the most innovative in the world and are responsible for ensuring that all of our households, businesses and communities benefit from that. This event is a must-attend conference for anyone with an interest in that.


“As our networks rise to the challenges of decarbonisation, there is a huge opportunity for consumers, for businesses and for energy innovators to play role. We look forward to warmly welcome attendees to Telford to be part of that.”


Over 50 exhibitors, alongside network companies, are expected to present their innovation projects that have been awarded funding under the Low Carbon Networks Fund, Network Innovation Allowance and Network Innovation Competition funding mechanisms. Projects include examples of how network companies are providing quicker and cheaper network connections for generators, integrating battery storage into the grid, enabling more effective planning for electric vehicles and on the gas side investigating the use of hybrid heating systems, converting the gas network for use with hydrogen, and investigating the use of new combinations of gasses in residential networks.