Innovators have an important role to play in supporting the UK to meet its net zero targets for greenhouse gas emission by 2050.
This was the message from the UK Energy Innovation Awards 2019 which took place on Thursday evening at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool. Over 350 guests from the utilities sector and innovation community attended the glittering ceremony, organised and hosted for the ninth time by innovation scout, the EIC.
Opening proceedings, Dermot Nolan, CEO of Ofgem, said:
“This evening is a remarkable celebration of the good work being done to drive innovation into our energy systems. However, we need more innovation from third parties and those outside of the sector to help support the scale and pace of change needed to meet the demand for a net zero carbon future. For this to happen we must create a level playfield for innovators and that is why the EIC plays such an important role.
Innovation will be important to decarbonising the system at lowest cost to consumers. The next price control will be tougher on the industry but will reward those networks pushing innovation and bringing new technology into business as usual.”
The event saw television comedian Hal Cruttenden welcome the twelve winners to the stage to collect their awards.
The ‘Best Innovation in Electricity’ award was presented to London-based business Kaluza. The company uses AI and machine learning to optimise smart devices by analysing consumer behaviours and real-time market signals to activate storage systems and chargers. Exercising this control at scale, Kaluza creates vast amounts of flexibility to help alleviate grid pressures at peak times and reduce carbon emissions. The platform has been described as transforming homes into ‘mini power stations’ and empowering consumers.
The judging panel commended Kaluza’s platform for tackling key challenges surrounding the transition to a zero-carbon grid, through an impressive digital solution.
A spokesperson at Kaluza, said:
"Winning this prestigious award for innovation is testament to the genuine intelligence and scalability of the Kaluza platform which is helping power the transition to a zero-carbon grid of the future.'
Following the showcase of green innovations, Turbo Power Systems (TPS) picked up the award for ‘Best Distribution Service Operator Enabling Project’ for its bi-directional converters for EV chargers.
The company was commended for developing a ground-breaking range of advanced EV charger converters. These are designed so that as well as allowing EVs to charge, vehicles can also give back power to the National Grid. The converters were also hailed for enabling the integration of low-carbon technologies into the distribution network.
Artur Krasnodebski, engineering manager at Turbo Power Systems, said:
“We believe that our bi-directional DC-DC converters are going to revolutionise the EV space – by remedying the challenges surrounding synchronism to the networks. We’re really pleased to have been recognised for our innovation among so many other strong contenders that have been present at this year’s awards.”
The ‘Social Impact Award’ was presented to Egnida Group Ltd which provides an intelligent tool – Project Reach – that identifies UK properties that might be ‘fuel poor’. What’s more the tool is also able to calculate how individuals could lower their fuel spending by providing options for lower carbon energy and associated funding that they might benefit from.
Andre Padmore CEO at Egnida Group Ltd, said:
“The Project Reach tool is designed with a dual purpose in mind. Firstly, we want to improve the lives of those living in fuel poverty. Secondly, the tool helps us to deliver on our mission statement of moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. It’s fantastic that this has been recognised by the award judges.”
Also scooping an award for ‘Best Water Utility Improvement’ – a new category at the awards event – was Nuron Ltd which has developed a dual-purpose wastewater monitoring and fibre deployment technology. This innovation provides mutual benefits to wastewater operators, communications infrastructure builders and society. Deploying the technology means that water companies can get real-time visibility of wastewater operations, helping them to make proactive and predictive management and environmental protection possible.
Claire Fenwick, managing director Nuron said:
“It’s brilliant that the water industry is included in the awards this year. This award is important to us as peer recognition for collaboration across utilities which we believe is critical for a sustainable future.”
In closing the event, the EIC’s managing director, Denise Massey, said:
“This year’s event has truly highlighted the UK’s strength in developing innovative solutions for the immediate challenges the energy and water sectors face.
“The fact that a large number of this year’s entrants are supporting our industry to become smarter and greener, really does provide confidence that the UK can lead the way when it comes to tackling the challenges of climate change and meet its target on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The expertise and skills needed to meet this challenge are already present in the innovator community, however, we also need bold leadership from within the utilities sector to identify the areas that most need innovating.
“We’re now in our ninth year of the awards and the quality of entries is still getting better each year. This not only proves that innovators have a major role to play in our energy and utilities landscape, it also demonstrates the need for their continued collaboration with energy distribution networks and utility providers.”
The UK Energy Innovation Awards 2019 were sponsored by EIC industry partners: Wales & West Utilities, Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks, Cadent, SGN, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, SP Energy Networks, Northumbrain Water Group, National Grid and Energy Systems Catapult.
Alongside general sponsors: University of Strathclyde Power Networks Demonstration Centre, Kelvatek, Baringa, and official media sponsor, Network Magazine.
The UK Energy Innovation Awards winners are:
Best electricity network improvement
Outram Research Ltd
Best innovation – electricity
Best gas network improvement
Best innovation – gas
Steve Vick International
Best water utility improvement
Best innovation – water
Best collaborative project
Young innovator of the year
Young Innovator of the Year (Highly Commended)
Best emerging cross-vector technology
Best DSO enabling project
Turbo Power Systems (TPS)
Egnida Group Limited
The EIC would like to say a huge thank you to those that took part in this year’s awards, including their fantastic host, Hal Cruttenden, their wonderful panel of judges, and the continued support from their industry partners.