Local network operators have released a guide to get communities involved in more innovation projects for smarter, cleaner energy which could potentially deliver major financial benefits.

Published by industry body Energy Networks Association (ENA), in partnership with community energy experts Regen, the Electricity Network Innovation Guide for Communities’ features practical advice for groups who want to support reliable, cost-effective and low-carbon energy by managing how to generate, distribute and use electricity in a smarter way.

Launching the publication, ENA pointed to how independent research by Pöyry has shown that network companies’ existing innovation projects could deliver up to £1.7 billion of benefits by 2031.

The guide also offers examples of innovative projects that local operators and groups have already worked on, such as smart charging for electric vehicles to avoid peak demand periods.

Randolph Brazier, Head of Innovation and Development at ENA said it was committed to ensuring a broad range of stakeholders had the opportunity to participate. “Energy is changing fundamentally because of the seismic shift to decentralisation, decarbonisation and digitisation: and innovation is key to that process.

“Through innovation we are already driving the delivery of green energy, connecting more than 28GW of distributed energy projects in recent years – that’s half of Britain’s total energy demand at peak times – and community energy groups have played a key part in that, helping to facilitate this once in a generation shift we are currently experiencing.”

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen, said: “Building a smarter, cleaner and decentralised energy system is about people as well as technology. We are pleased to be working with local electricity network operators to enable community energy groups to be at the heart of the pioneering innovation projects that are reshaping our energy system to the benefit of all.”

The new guide builds on a programme of engagement events around the country in 2016 and 2017, Two further events are now planned for 2018.


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