Wales & West Utilities has signed up to a pioneering Innovator and Industry Charter which aims to significantly strengthen engagement between the global innovation community and the UK energy networks.

The Charter is a result of research which has been conducted by the UK energy networks through the EIC (formerly the Energy Innovation Centre). It builds on the energy networks’ response to the Net Zero targets and the UK’s Green Recovery and will ensure that more innovation becomes business as usual faster and more cost effectively.

The research, published as the Innovator Insight Report, was commissioned by the EIC, on behalf of the UK energy networks, and revealed how following successful innovation R+D projects, over a third of SMEs experienced challenges at procurement stage, which delayed implementation into operations. In addition, a further 41% reported that navigating the often-complicated procurement process of energy networks was prohibitive.

As a result, the energy networks, in collaboration with the EIC, have acted on the recommendations outlined in the report. The Innovator and Industry Charter’s action plan gives a voice to innovators which will directly impact on how network partners do business – resulting in a more effective innovation pipeline.

The Charter has initially set out three key actions:

  1. A single innovator engagement platform: The innovator engagement platform is an industry-wide calendar that will serve as a one-stop-shop for innovators to identify opportunities, events, and key industry deadlines all in one place, and from a number of key stakeholders like the EIC, ENA, the energy networks and Ofgem.
  2. Best practice guidelines: The energy networks, through the EIC, will produce a unified set of guidance for innovators to understand the innovation project lifespan through to deploying solutions into the networks as business as usual, including addressing the challenge of procurement.
  3. Collaborative Third-Party Engagement: The partnership is working to simplify the stakeholder engagement process to deliver more collaborative and effective insights.

We’re proud to have played a key role in this project and are delighted to see the Charter launched which will seek to improve engagement between utilities and SMEs.

We’re always seeking ways in which we can improve our relationships with suppliers and industry and this Charter is evidence of our commitment to work with SMEs so we can all deliver a cleaner, greener future for the industry and our customers.

Lucy Mason, Wales & West Utilities Innovation Manager

Given the climate emergency and the continued pressing need for change and increased pace, the Innovator and Industry Charter is a clear signal from the Industry of its willingness to challenge itself to ultimately improve access and engagement with SME innovators.

Denise Massey, EIC Managing Director

UK Energy Networks involved in Innovator and Industry Operating Charter:

  • Wales & West Utilities
  • Cadent Gas
  • UK Power Networks
  • Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks
  • National Grid Electricity Transmission
  • SP Energy Networks
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • Northern Power Grid

To view the Innovator and Industry Charter, click here.