The Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) worked with Northern Powergrid, Northern Gas Networks, Northumbrian Water & Yorkshire Water to develop a Call for Innovation addressing the issue of measuring the impact and value of network activities. Utility networks have an extremely positive impact on customers in the North East & Yorkshire region, providing employment and investment. In selecting innovative solutions to maintaining, replacing or extending the network, the four companies recognise that this may have non-obvious impacts on our societal stakeholders. Often these are seen as a negative impact, but not necessarily quantifiable and balance with the positive.
The four networks believed by working collaboratively and researching this topic the outcome would provide a wider more cohesive approach that could be replicated across the UK. However, due to the dispersed nature of the available data, lack of direct measures and diversity of the area a research / feasibility study is required before developing any calculation methodology.
It is unique within the utility sector as it brings together four networks, whose footprint has a significant coverage in the North East of England. These four companies recognise the impact there activities have on customers in the north east and wish to develop a framework that is seen as consistent across all utilities.
Stage 1 Objectives – Workshops, Interviews, Literature Review
Determine what existing information there is regarding societal impact of network activities or related activities that may be relevant, and assess the applicability of these to meeting the network operators? needs.
Stage 2 Objectives – Data Indicators and Impacts
Gather information on quantitative variables that influence societal impact, resulting from different network activities.
Stage 3 Objectives – Gap Analysis
Identify gaps in the evidence base where further research may be required to provide a comprehensive picture of societal impact from network activities.
Stage 4 Objectives – Recommendations & Final Report
Provide recommendations as to the next stages that may be appropriate for the network operators to consider in achieving the overall aim.
All information from the project will be aggregated and used to produce a final report. This will include an executive summary suitable for individuals from any background, as well as a clearly structured report containing the detailed analysis. Depending on the nature of tools, evidence and data that has been identified throughout the project the report will include links, annex or supplementary information. It is not envisaged at this stage that full guidance on using data will be included, although we would be happy to discuss this if suitable data is available on which this could be based as the project progresses.
The results will provide:
• A definitive list of both qualitative & quantitative indicators of societal impact of network activities.
• Identification of current applicability of existing indicators and use.
• Identified gaps in current data, availability and prioritisation of the sources.
• Recommendation on use, development and next stages required to complete a robust framework
The envisaged this project will include research into current methods of measuring impacts of network activities and result in a feasibility report as to the best methods of utilising the findings from this research to develop a method of assessing current activities and future methods against the newly understood social impacts.