Energy Systems Catapult chair Nick Winser, recently talked to Utility Week editor Jane Gray about the challenges facing the sector and the important role of the Catapult.
The extensive interview covered Nick’s experience of being on the board of National Grid, to his role as a Government advisor on energy and the development of the RIIO regulatory regime that now presides over the UK’s electricity and gas transmission and distribution companie.
Talking about the future of energy systems, Nick talks about how exciting and compelling he finds the task of optimising the UK’s approach to decarbonisation from a whole system perspective – incorporating heat and gas concerns as well as electricity – and the outlines reasons he started working with Innovate UK on its Innovation Hub as well as, most recently, taking on the role as Chairman of the Energy Systems Catapult.
In the article, Nick observes: “With so many players [in a decentralised energy scenario], I think there is an argument which isn’t only about the utilities coming forward with good ideas, but is about creating an overall framework in which the industry together can see reward for bringing forward innovation – wherever it has come from, whether that be a university or an SME [small and medium sized enterprise] or a new player coming into the market or a telecoms provider coming in.”
If such a framework could be developed, it would reduce the timescales for bringing innovation forward, make the industry more flexible and open the door much wider to new players.
“It would bring those disruptive technologies and business models to bear that could create the blend between pan-European integration of our energy systems, the national systems, local and home – all of those four things being able to work seamlessly together, not just in electricity, but across electricity, combustible gases, heat…”
Nick talks more about the challenges facing the sector and the importance of the establishment of the Energy Systems Catapult in the full article.