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DNOs regularly publish Distribution Future Energy Scenarios, but these often overlook the developing complexity on the low voltage networks. As UW Innovate reports, WPD has now devised a new methodology, called EPIC, to capture data from local authorities and use it for more sensitive and localised analysis.
Analysis
How is the drive for net zero transforming expectations of customer service operations? Utility Week asked energy and water leaders to tell us their experiences.
Analysis
Building a 'smart network' where data can accelerate decarbonisation and cut operating costs is an agenda-setting priority for every distribution and transmission company. Already, network companies have chalked up their first trials and even moved into 'Business As Usual' territory. But as a recent debate and workshop discussion at the Utility Week Live Summit showed, there is still a long way to go.
Analysis
From shifting large numbers of staff to home working to accelerating the use of digital communication channels, the utilities sector has been widely praised for its response to the issues thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic. During Utility Week Live Summit, a number of industry experts gathered to discuss what lessons the sector can take from the pandemic to transform customer service. Having robust and varied communications was among the key topics explored.
Analysis
Reaching net zero by 2050 requires a splurge of infrastructure spending. How do we incentivise that investment, ensure regulatory and planning policies don’t impede process and that local communities are not adversely impacted? This topic was discussed at a Utility Week roundtable of senior industry figures and experts in policy, regulation and renewables infrastructure.
Analysis
Ofwat has established its £200 million Innovation Fund in a 'disruptive' attempt to change mindsets and boost water companies’ capacity to collaborate and co-operate to solve problems. UW Innovate looks at the aspirations behind the Fund, and meets the teams behind two projects in the first wave to secure funding.
Analysis
Water companies can now deploy multiple sensors and advanced smart meters to give them a real-time view of their operations, or to digitally model future interventions. But, when few companies reaped full benefit from previous rounds of smart metering investment, how can new programmes stack up?
Analysis
The debate over decarbonisation of heat is marked by polarised views from the passionate advocates of electrification and green gas - each with a statistic at the ready to prove their case. As part of Utility Week’s Countdown to COP series, David Blackman unpicks the arguments and examines the key question for policymakers - what role hydrogen will have in warming the homes of the future?
Analysis
Planning policy at national and local level should consider water neutrality and greater ambition on efficiency for new homes and developments to meet housing and population needs in the coming decades. This is according to a panel of experts brought together by Waterwise.
Analysis
Seagrass, which was once common around the UK's coast, is believed to be as effective as woodland at sequestering carbon but until now no framework existed to measure its efficacy. Affinity Water was awarded funding from Ofwat's Innovation in Water Challenge fund to restore seagrass in its region, create a seed nursery and develop the framework for carbon credits. Utility Week talks to Aaron Burton, Affinity's head of environmental strategy.
Analysis
The government’s ambitious target to cut emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 will inevitably lead to more pressure on the utilities sector to deliver on its own decarbonisation plans. As part of Utility Week's Countdown to COP campaign, David Blackman looks at where that pressure is likely to be applied.
Analysis
The circular economy is being increasingly mentioned but what exactly is it and what does it mean? What is its relevance to those operating in the water industry and how can it help them cut costs and be greener at the same time? This is the first of a series of articles from the BPF Pipes Group taking a closer look at understanding the circular economy and using as an example the role of plastic pipes within it. The series explains why we as an industry should take notice of its growing importance.
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