Roger Hey, Future Networks Manager, Western Power Distribution:
"Smart energy and smart grids often involve the application of new technologies and/or the creation of new economic markets and processes. For many in the industry it can be easy to forget that the low carbon transition is actually centred on changes to how consumers interact and use energy.
So I am most excited by solutions that put consumers at their heart. It could be providing information to make better choices to suit their needs, or automating tasks to deliver the same or better outcomes. I especially like solutions that support more vulnerable consumers including addressing fuel poverty."
Sotiris Georgiopoulos, Head of Smart Grid Development, UK Power Networks:
No individual innovation is likely to enact wholescale change on the electricity network, but what we’re really excited about is the overall direction the utility industry is moving in. We stand on the edge of a change that could be as significant for energy as the advent of broadband was for telecoms. The rise in renewable energy and advances in technologies from electric vehicles to battery storage, from artificial intelligence to power electronics and active network management, will all ultimately benefit the consumer by saving them money and reducing CO2 emissions. We are transforming our network to create a smart, flexible, world-class grid that can support and enable EVs and other technologies.
Carolina Tortora, Head of Innovation Strategy, National Grid System Operator:
Having the unique privilege of fostering Innovation for Great Britain’s system operator means having front row seats to all of the changes that the energy landscape is experiencing – the rise of renewables and technological advances to name a few. It also means having to deal with the fallout consequences and resulting challenges. Machine learning, and AI more in general, applied to the way we control and manage the grid is definitely one of the most exciting things that we get to work on right now. It ultimately means allowing for greater complexity in the grid and for faster response, for more accurate forecasting and better models of our habits and requirements, all of this while ensuring a more efficient and smooth service for our customers.