Energy Systems Catapult to deliver government-backed Inclusive Smart Solutions Programme

Inclusive Smart Solutions - Request for Information

Responses to this Request for Information must be submitted electronically via this online form no later than 23:59 (GMT) on 29th October 2023.

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Request for Information - Guidance Document

Download this document for more information about the RFI process and the questions to answer.

Request for Information launching for innovations that support Low Income and Vulnerable consumers to participate in the emerging smart, flexible energy system

A £2.75m Programme – Inclusive Smart Solutions – funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, is to be delivered by Energy Systems Catapult, aimed at overcoming the barriers faced by Low Income and Vulnerable (LIV) consumers, as the UK transitions to a smart, flexible energy system.

Innovative products and services designed to aid the transition could exacerbate or introduce new barriers for LIV consumers, limiting their participation in a smart, flexible energy system.

Energy Systems Catapult will receive support from the Carbon Trust and Ipsos in delivering the Inclusive Smart Solutions (ISS) programme, that is funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s £65m Flexibility Innovation Programme, part of the UK Government’s £1bn Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems.

The Catapult will bring together expertise in  consumer insights  and energy system innovation within its renowned ‘Fair Futures’ team – which focuses on harnessing innovation to better understand and reduce vulnerability to fuel poverty in support of a just energy transition, by designing smarter policies, products, services and consumer protections.

The ISS programme will be delivered in two phases of work between September 2023 and March 2025.

Phase 1 will be delivered in collaboration with Ipsos, combining our expertise in consumer insight, and will focus on conducting primary research with Low Income and Vulnerable (LIV) consumers to maximise the understanding of their needs and existing barriers. The research insights will inform the development of innovative solutions for LIV consumers. This will be delivered alongside the ‘Open Innovation’ selection process, to identify up to four innovative solutions from both inside and outside the energy sector.

As part of Phase 1, the Catapult – supported by the Carbon Trust – is launching a ‘Request for Information for the Inclusive Smart Solutions Delivery Team’ on September 28th 2023. The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to get input from a range of stakeholders (industry, technology developers, energy networks, academia, research institutions, and others) into:

  • The existing and potential solutions for consumers who might otherwise struggle to participate in the emerging smart and flexible energy system.
  • The specific barriers LIV consumers might face, and the targeted solutions being developed to address them.

The information provided will be used to generate market insight into existing innovations and solutions, as well as barriers that have been identified by stakeholders already operating in this space.

We are looking for innovations that unlock potential for – and support – future innovation for the LIV consumer market and affect all demand-side vectors and supply-side technologies.

Becky Sweeney, Business Leader – Homes, at Energy Systems Catapult, said:

“As the UK transitions to a smart, flexible energy system, Low Income and Vulnerable (LIV) consumers face challenges and barriers to participation that many of us will not experience. The work we are doing aims to face these hurdles head-on, to help us learn from the experiences of LIV consumers, to create a smart, flexible energy system that works for everyone, and where no one is left behind.

“We’d like to invite stakeholders from across industry – from clean tech innovators to energy research institutions – to respond to our Request for Information to help shape the energy system of the future. We need to ensure that however the energy market looks in decades to come, it is inclusive, fair, and just. If you have an idea or a solution aimed at supporting LIV consumers, we want to hear from you”.

Inclusive Smart Solutions is being delivered as part of Energy Systems Catapult’s Fair Futures Programme. Fair Futures explores the opportunities for innovation to address fuel poverty, and better understand the issues faced by vulnerable energy consumer groups in the UK. The Programme identifies the areas where commercial, governmental, community and household living needs and motivations could be aligned to provide more effective policies, products and services.

Inclusive Smart Solutions

Inclusive Smart Solutions is a £2.75m Programme funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero £65m Flexibility Innovation Programme.

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Consumer Insight & Proposition Design

Independent consumer experts helping innovators – large and small – see beyond what people say to understand what they do.

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