Now that the Energy Networks Innovation Conference (ENIC) has closed for another year, we can reflect on the industry’s latest innovations in a time where change is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. The past 18 months have been particularly turbulent, but as an industry, we should be pleased that this hasn’t halted the focus on innovation and the progress we are making to help enable net zero.
ENIC continues to be the most important date in the conference calendar for Kelvatek as it so closely aligns to the core values of innovation, ingenuity and learning that drives our business forward. Kelvatek featured heavily in several key innovation projects this year and we are proud to work with our DNO partners to deliver real change to the electricity network.
We found the deputy director of the Strategy Innovation Fund at UKRI, Matt Hastings, opening keynote particularly inspiring, he delivered a speech that sought to focus on delivering quick results through innovation that will make a real difference to consumers.
As expected, the fundamental theme running through the conference was net zero and the crucial role innovation can play in enabling it. For Kelvatek, there were several other important areas of focus that provided unique insights and learnings for the industry. Our key highlights are outlined below.
Future control rooms
The sessions on the future control room were of particular interest to us, as like the presenters, we believe digitalisation will have a significant impact on this area as Network Operators shift from a manual approach to network management to a more remote, automated approach.
At Kelvatek we too have recognised the importance of this shift and that’s why we are realigning the way we deliver our Sapient Service to a more digital and integrated service solution in line with DNO needs. Our Sapient development program will offer an even more flexible and comprehensive service in ED2, enabling DNO’s to manage their LV & HV networks in an ever more efficient manner, together with their own network management solutions.
Electrification of heat and transport
Like the previous year, the drive toward increased electrification of heat and transport raised some interesting developments in how DNO’s can gain the visibility of these changes at the lowest levels of the network and how they can manage their networks more efficiently, by avoiding or deferring network reinforcement.
At Kelvatek we are already deploying thousands of our LV monitoring solution, PRESense
on the network to increase LV visibility. Arming the DNO’s with the data they need to manage constraints and faults and with our work on the ENW Smart Street project and the NIE LV Active network management scheme our smart switches, Weezap and Relink are helping the networks to regulate voltage by allowing LV network reconfiguration.
The power of data
The importance of data in driving the transformation required to help meet net zero targets has never been more apparent. The industry has awoken the power of data and what it can offer. Notably, in the previous regulatory cycle, the RIIO-ED1 Open Letter in 2013 used the word ‘data’ just three times. In the intervening decade, the technology landscape has changed dramatically, now data lies at the very heart of the industry transformation.
With this in mind, we would like to thank those who attended our data panel at the conference. The session titled ‘How do you extract maximum value from your LV monitoring data and smart metering data’, explored the various methodologies, use cases, challenges and benefits of utilising LV monitoring data, smart metering data and other supporting data sets. This was a subject particularly close to our heart as we manage the rollout of our LV Monitor and explore what tangible benefits can be gained by combing the high-resolution data it collects with smart metering data.
Quality of supply for customers
Throughout all of this, Kelvatek is acutely aware that delivering a valuable and reliable service to consumers lies at the heart of every DNO’s strategy and this was of course reflected at ENIC this year. Kelvatek’s reclosers and fault management services, initially introduced to the industry through various innovation programs are continuing to deliver in these key areas - over the last year we have helped the DNO’s avoid an extra 10,000 customers going off supply and supported savings of over 30,000 hours of no-supply. This is over and above the hundreds of thousands of power supply interruptions and hours off supply that our equipment was already helping to avoid for customers every year.
At Kelvatek, we firmly believe innovation can play a crucial role in network decarbonisation and digitalisation. Over the years we have worked closely with DNOs to deliver successful innovation-to-BAU projects such as our single-shot auto-recloser (Bidoyng), our multi-shot vacuum breaker recloser (Weezap), our intelligent smart switch (Relink) and recently we’ve been working hard in partnership with Electricity North West on the SENTINEL innovation project to bring to market our 11Kv overhead line fault management solution, LineSIGHT.
For Kelvatek innovation is about taking cutting-edge technology and turning that into a value-driven, results-based outcome, which is why such a huge proportion of our innovation projects are carried into business-as-usual operations.
As we conclude we would like to offer our thanks to the Energy Networks Association for continuing to bring together the UK energy industry and ensuring innovation is given its rightful platform for us to learn and develop. We are already looking forward to supporting ENIC 22, with it returning in person once again.