Creating demand ‘key to attracting investment in innovation’

  If the energy system wants to attract investment in innovative technologies, it has to create domestic demand of their services. That’s the view of Grant Bourhill, Chief Operating Officer […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria
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If the energy system wants to attract investment in innovative technologies, it has to create domestic demand of their services.

That’s the view of Grant Bourhill, Chief Operating Officer at Energy Systems Catapult, who believes the end user is not taken into account in the debate about innovation.

Speaking to ELN, he said: “I think the most important thing with innovation is to think about what’s the end user of that innovation. When you talk about DSR [Demand Side Response], when you talk about electric vehicles, the end customer of course is the domestic end user and quite often they’re forgotten in the debate about innovation.

“The key thing really isn’t to push technology, it’s actually to try and create demand for new services, that will use those technologies but really to create demand that’s going to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Mr Bourhill doesn’t believe Brexit and recent changes in energy policies have affected investment in innovative technologies. He said the sector is still in an “early stage” and needs to initially find out which technologies “have got market pull”.

He added: “When you start to think about the opportunity the UK has to change its energy system and do that in a clean way but in a way that’s affordable and reliable and will make a difference to people’s lives, then again I think we need to experiment because the technologies are there.

“The key thing is how are the technologies integrated and wrapped with a value proposition and a commercial model that will make demand rise and I think once people understand what technologies and value propositions will create the market, then regulation and investment can come in after that.”