‘Energy networks need more SME innovation’

Energy networks are adopting innovations from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) but more needs to be done. That’s according to new research from the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and the […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Energy networks are adopting innovations from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) but more needs to be done.

That’s according to new research from the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and the Energy Systems Catapult, which have studied how key players in the industry are working with SMEs to develop new technologies and business models.

The survey showed 80% of SMEs had engaged with at least one distribution network operator or gas distribution network, with the larger companies more likely to do so.

The research also highlighted funding for network innovation is critical to SMEs engaging with the sector.

The firms say they need to increasingly connect with the right people, develop more flexible procurement processes, have access to clear and transparent reporting and be able to thoroughly test innovations.

Philip New, Chief Executive at the Energy Systems Catapult said: “Innovation is fundamental to energy system transformation. Leveraging the potential of innovative SMEs is vital if we’re to access the full capacity of UK talent and drive productivity improvements.

“This involves overcoming some serious challenges. We need focused interventions based on a clear understanding of the landscape. Our aim is to help remove roadblocks and smooth the path for the strongest innovations to break through.”

Another new report suggests the UK’s framework to ensure energy supply needs to be made more simple, efficient and reflective of the energy mix.