Energy Sector’s Innovation Ambition Heats Up

Guests at the fifth UK Energy Innovation Awards challenged to pioneer a future where innovation can thrive.

Small business innovators, the energy industry, policy makers and academics gathered in force last night at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate for the annual UK Energy Innovation Awards, organised by the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC).

Addressing an audience of over 400 guests, Graham Edwards, chief executive of EIC industry partner, Wales & West Utilities, said: “The increased ambition of tonight’s event has been driven — first and foremost — by the exceptionally high number of quality entries that were received from the innovator community and also by the energy industry’s growing desire for collaborative projects that leverage the talents, agility and innovative nature of small businesses.”

Commending the Energy Innovation Centre on its role and reach within the sector, Edwards called on the audience to continue to challenge itself to pioneer a future where energy innovation can flourish and innovative technologies and services can be rapidly deployed.

David Gray, chairman of energy industry regulator, Ofgem, said: “The UK energy industry is changing fast and innovation has a crucial role to play in how it develops.

“Wholehearted congratulations must go to all the projects, technologies and businesses that are being recognised by the UK Energy Innovation Awards tonight. Not only do they highlight the impact of the RIIO regulatory incentives, they also demonstrate how innovation is extending beyond the networks into the supply chain.

“I have said previously that the challenge is getting sufficient numbers of people to think laterally about innovation. Judging by the number of entries to the awards and the calibre of the shortlist, it’s clear that the sector is addressing the need for innovation head-on. The next step is to turn innovation into business as usual.”

Broadcaster and author, Gyles Brandreth, hosted the sell-out event which featured a record number of 14 awards categories and over 60 shortlisted entries.

Northern Ireland based Kelvatek Ltd was a double award winner on the night, taking home the awards for ‘Best International Trade’ and ‘Best High Growth Company’ for its network resilience products and services which are used by network operators in the UK and abroad.

Nigel Russell, regional manager UK & Ireland, Kelvatek said: “In our experience, the best innovations come through collaboration and aligning yourself strategically with good partners. The EIC, our DNO partners and our customers have all helped us to achieve the growth and success we’ve experienced to date and we’re enormously appreciative of their support.”

Cambridge University spin-out, HTIP Ltd, also picked up two awards. The ‘Best Innovation Contributing to Reliability and Quality of Electricity Supply’ and ‘Best University Technology’ awards were awarded for the firm’s novel domestic voltage regulator device. The technology guarantees quality of supply for consumers and increases network resilience to the effects of low carbon technology deployment.

Smart Compliance Ltd from Bellshill won the ‘Best Safety Innovation’ award for its smart carbon monoxide (CO) sensor that sends SMS notifications of any CO alerts to a nominated mobile phone. The device provides those with a duty of care to others with a means of remotely monitoring CO levels and alerts, helping to protect vulnerable customer groups.

The award for ‘Best Innovation Implemented or Adopted by a Contractor’ went to Australian company, UAM Pty Ltd, for a pole strengthening device that can extend the life of utility poles for up to twenty years. Initially developed and rolled out in its home country, UAM’s innovative reinstatement system is now being successfully deployed in the UK.

 Cardiff-based iViTi Lighting Limited was recognised in the ‘New Energy Innovation Start-up’ category for an innovative LED light bulb product that continues to function normally in the event of a power cut, which will protect vulnerable customers.

 Other companies celebrated at the awards included GEV Wind Power from Norfolk which was recognised in the ‘Best Offshore Renewables Innovation’ category for its remote wind turbine blade maintenance equipment that enables staff to carry out field repairs in safety. While Tollgrade Communications, Inc from Bracknell, won ‘Best Smart Grid Innovation’ for its battery-free smart grid sensor for overhead power lines.

Closing the awards, Denise Massey, managing director of the Energy Innovation Centre, said: “The successes that we are celebrating tonight demonstrate how connecting the innovation community with the energy industry can create value for all; from energy consumers, SMEs, the supply chain and industry itself.

“The EIC remains committed to driving this open approach to innovation further forward into the future. We are already planning collaborative summits for this year that will set out a transformational vision for each of three key strategic areas – customer, streetworks and transmission.

“Pursuing this approach will require more of what we have seen evidence of tonight — courage, strong leadership and a shared commitment to building an innovation culture capable of engaging hearts and minds. This year’s awards are the strongest indication yet that we are already well on the way towards achieving this.”

Sponsors of the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2015 were Amey, Northern Gas Networks, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, the Power Networks Distribution Centre, SSE Power Distribution, Thornton Science Park, University of Chester and UKTI. The event was also supported by: Electricity North West, National Grid, Northern Powergrid, SP Energy Networks, SGN, UK Power Networks, Wales & West Utilities and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

To view images of the event, visit the EIC Flickr account here

The UK Energy Innovation Awards 2015 winners in full are:

Best Electricity Network Improvement – sponsored by SSE Power Distribution

Turbo Power Systems (Gateshead)

Best Gas Network Improvement – sponsored by Northern Gas Networks

Steve Vick International Limited (Bradford on Avon)

Best Innovation Implemented or Adopted by a Contractor sponsored by Amey Plc

UAM Pty Ltd (Australia)

New Energy Innovation Start Up

iViTi Lighting Limited (Cardiff)

Best Innovation Contributing to Customer Quality and Reliability of Electricity Supply

HTIP Limited (Cambridge)

Best Innovation Contributing to Customer Quality and Reliability of Gas Supply

OptoSci Ltd (Glasgow)

International Trade Award – sponsored by UK Trade & Investment

Kelvatek Ltd (Northern Ireland)

Best Offshore Renewables Innovation – sponsored by Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

GEV Wind Power (Norfolk)

Best Asset Security Innovation

Piezotag Limited (Sheffield)

Best Safety Innovation

Smart Compliance Ltd (Bellshill)

Environmental Impact Award

Offgrid Energy Ltd (Rugby)

Best High Growth Company – sponsored by Thornton Science Park, University of Chester

Kelvatek Ltd (Northern Ireland)

Best Smart Grid Innovation sponsored by Power Network Demonstration Centre, University of Strathclyde

Tollgrade Communications, Inc (Bracknell)

Best University Technology

HTIP Limited & Cambridge University (Cambridge)

To view images of the event, visit the EIC Flickr account here