AWARDS SPONSOR CONTENT: Fuelling the Future Smart Grid

Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution are thrilled that this year an innovation from one of its flagship innovation projects, ‘My Electric Avenue, has been shortlisted for the Best Smart Grid Innovation Award.

The street of the future – neighbours in Marlow test the impact of a cluster of 9 electric vehicles on the local electricity grid .

The street of the future – neighbours in Marlow test the impact of a cluster of 9 electric vehicles on the local electricity grid .

The company has a wide portfolio of innovation projects, ranging from 6 month small-scale feasibility studies to 5 year multimillion pound trials involving real customers on our networks, and whilst it’s always exciting to trial new innovations what makes this shortlisting particularly satisfying is that it underpins the ethos of the Energy Innovation Centre- in order to improve, you have to collaborate.

The idea for My Electric Avenue was conceived in order to test not only a technical innovation (the ability to allow large numbers of electric vehicles to charge on the same electrical network without overloading it during periods of peak demand) but also a commercial innovation- that a third party could manage and deliver one of Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund innovation projects on a DNO’s network.

The third party chosen to embark on this venture with was EA Technology Ltd, an SME providing technical consultancy, instrumentation and software. SSEPD were humble enough to admit that whilst there are many things it is good at, there are still areas where it doesn’t have the level of expertise that some third parties do, and this is where the collaboration with EA Technology was invaluable and helped to ensure the successful delivery of the project. In turn, they too sought additional skill sets to complete the project delivery team and brought in further SMEs.

The project completed at the end of 2015, and whilst the technical innovation was proven to work (after all, it is nominated for an award!) so too was the commercial innovation- the skills brought by a third party helped to deliver the project and manage all the situations that arose during its 3 years, and has now opened up not only our eyes but also those of other organisations to the increased benefits of using third parties for delivery- Ofgem have consulted on opening up their Network Innovation Competition to third parties.

Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution have been involved with the EIC since its creation and are proud to be one of the industry partners for the electricity sector, helping to provide access to the industry for SMEs and adopting new technologies and services to improve our operations.  There are so many routes to market that it can often be a long and winding road, not helped by the rules and regulations of working in a regulated industry, so is delighted that  it can continue to help SMEs and other third parties get the opportunities they deserve.